Indian telcos deploy 21,000 5G base stations nationwide: report

Reliance Jio Infocomm had deployed a total of 17,687 5G base stations across India

Indian operators have already deployed almost 21,000 5G base stations across the country as of the end of November, local newspaper Business Standard reported, citing data from the country’s Department of Telecom (DoT).

According to the official data, Reliance Jio Infocomm has deployed a total of 17,687 5G base stations while rival telco Bharti Airtel deployed 3,293 base stations.

The city with the highest number of 5G base stations as of the end of last month was Delhi, with 5,829, followed by Maharashtra (4,051), Gujarat (2,892), Tamil Nadu (2,229) and West Bengal (2,219).

The report also noted that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are currently putting up nearly 2,500 5G base stations every week. Communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had previously said that local carriers will soon accelerate network coverage by putting up around 10,000 5G base stations every week

Currently, Reliance Jio is rolling out 5G on 700 MHz and 3.3GHz bands while Bharti Airtel is deploying 5G technology via the 3.3GHz spectrum band. Jio is offering 5G services via Standalone (SA) architecture while Airtel is deploying 5G using a NonStandalone (NSA) network infrastructure.

While Reliance Jio has announced plans to reach nationwide coverage with 5G by December next year, Bharti Airtel aims to offer full 5G coverage across India by March 2024.

Indian telcos Reliance Jio Infocomm also recently started to gradually deploy 5G across India. Reliance Jio Infocomm already launched the beta trial of its 5G services in parts of Mumbai, Varanasi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Nathdwara, Pune, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gujarat.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel is already offering 5G services in 12 cities across India, according to local press reports.

In October, Bharti Airtel launched 5G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi. The telco’s 5G offering is also currently available in parts of Gurugram, Panipat, Guwahati and Patna.

Airtel is using equipment from Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to provide 5G services. The Indian operator had secured a total of 19,800 megahertz of spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 3.3 GHz and 26 GHz bands.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea is in talks with several venders for the supply of 5G gear. The telco is also seeking to obtain financial resources for the launch of its 5G network.

Indian state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) could launch 5G services by August of next year, according to recent press reports.

India’s Department of Telecommunications will seek recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to conduct a new 5G spectrum auction in the upcoming financial year, according to recent press reports.

The government is currently analyzing whether and how to award new spectrum bands in the range of 3.7-4.2 GHz and 4.7-4.8 GHz.

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