Indian telecommunications operator Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have conducted what they claim is India’s first 5G network demonstration in a rural geography, the latter said in a release.
The demonstration took place in the village of Bhaipur Bramanan village, on the outskirts of Delhi.
Airtel noted that the trial showcased the potential offered by 5G towards bridging the digital divide by enabling access to high speed broadband through solutions such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services.
The trial was carried out using 3.5 Ghz mid-band test 5G spectrum – awarded to Airtel by India’s Department of Telecom for the purposes of the trial. Existing FDD spectrum was also used during the trial.
More than 200 Mbps throughput was achieved on a 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA device at distance of more than 10 kilometers from the test site. As part of the trial, a commercially available 3GPP-based 5G smartphone was connected to the 5G test network, delivering more than 100 Mbps speeds beyond a 10 km range.
This equates to an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 kilometers, showing that high-speed 5G broadband coverage can be deployed across remote areas.
Randeep Singh Sekhon, Airtel CTO said: “Having demonstrated India’s first 5G network and also the first 5G cloud gaming experience, Airtel is proud to have also conducted the nation’s first 5G trial in a rural geography. 5G will be a transformational technology when it comes to delivering broadband coverage to the last mile through use cases like FWA and contribute to a more inclusive digital economy.”
Nunzio Mirtillo, head of Ericsson Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, said: “The technology milestone of extended coverage achieved by Ericsson and Airtel as part of the ongoing 5G trial in India is even more significant since it demonstrates how 5G can ‘connect the unconnected’ in India, enable faster 5G rollout and truly help India realize its ‘Digital India’ vision”. 5G will serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country. According to an Ericsson study, on an average, a 10% increase in the mobile broadband adoption ratio causes a 0.8% increase in GDP.”
Over the past few months, Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have partnered to demonstrate enhanced speeds of more than 1Gbps on a live 5G network set up at Cyber Hub in Gurgaon using Bharti’s 3.5 GHz trial spectrum.
Earlier this year, Airtel demonstrated 5G over its existing spectrum in the 1.8 GHz band in the city of Hyderabad. Airtel used spectrum sharing, allowing the carrier to operate 5G and 4G connections from within the same spectrum block.
In July, Intel and Bharti Airtel had announced a collaboration to drive network development of 4G and 5G virtualized radio access network (vRAN) and open radio access network (RAN) technology.
Work by Intel and Airtel will evolve communications networks from fixed-function equipment to virtualized cloud-native deployments and enable edge-to-cloud communications.
Airtel’s network will be powered by a number of Intel products, including the latest Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, Ethernet 800 Series, and FlexRAN reference architecture.