Airtel has announced that it recently became the first telecom company to successfully demonstrate live 5G services in the country. The New Delhi-based telco did the 5G demonstration over a commercial network in Hyderabad. The firm stated that it operated 5G and 4G simultaneously over the existing spectrum in the 1800MHz band. It did so through the Non-Standalone (NSA) technology.
Airtel 5G is expected to provide internet speed which would be 10 times faster than existing technologies. This would allow users to download entire movies in seconds on a 5G compatible phone.
For building its 5G network in the country, Airtel has been working with its equipment partner Ericsson. Earlier, the telco had claimed that it had the technology to run 5G over its existing technology-neutral spectrum. It would operate 5G in mid bands which are at 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz frequency. These are alongside sub-GHz bands which are available at 800MHz and 900MHz. "The transition to 5G is available through software upgrades over the existing network infrastructure," the operator said.
Airtel has stated that if it receives the nod of Department of Telecom (DoT), it will be able to operate 5G and 4G network dynamically within the same spectrum block and should be able to start commercially running 5G in a matter of months. However, Airtel is yet to announce any official timeline for the rollout of its 5G network.
"The moment we receive government approvals, and we have the right spectrum bands and in adequate quantities, we'll be able to roll this [5G] out immediately," said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel, during a virtual media briefing.
The operator has stated that over 20 5G phones currently available in the market will be ready for Airtel 5G. The firm used Oppo Reno 5 Pro and Oppo Find X2 Pro for the demonstration.