India’s 5G spectrum auction draws to a close; 5G testing continues

Day four of the Indian 5G spectrum auction is drawing to a close, and we hope to have a clearer idea of the winners and losers by early next week. But in the meantime 5G testing is continuing, with Vodafone Idea (aka Vi) now involved in a pilot project run by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Vodafone Idea has been selected by TRAI to conduct a trial on the use of street furniture for small cells and aerial fibre deployment.

The idea is to look at how to make infrastructure more accessible for the quick rollout of 5G networks. Small cells – low-powered, compact, easy-to-deploy radio access nodes with a coverage range from a few metres up to a few hundred metres – will play a major role in this.

Hence street furniture – such as electric poles, bus stands and traffic lights – is being used for testing 5G small cells, in this case at Namma Metro Bengaluru, a rapid transit system serving the city of Bengaluru (or Bangalore), the capital and largest city of the state of Karnataka.

India’s Economic Times says that the Bengalaru trial is targeting 5G coverage at road level, in the concourse area, on the platform and on tracks. The learnings of this project and others like it will, in turn, be used for 5G deployment in other metro rail systems in the country.

As for the spectrum sale, a continuing battle for 1800MHz spectrum in the key Uttar Pradesh (East) market between the three big operators has unexpectedly pushed the auctions into a fourth day. The would-be buyers are battling it out for influence in an area with the highest number of mobile users in India – at 101.54 million, almost 10% of India’s total wireless subscriber base.