5G Testbed to be fully operational by 2021

Chennai: Over 300 people would be industry-ready and trained in 5G technology with a Central-government funded ‘5G test bed’ becoming fully operational by 2021, national coordinator of the project Bhaskar Ramamurthi has said. Ramamurthi, a professor of communication technology and also IIT-Madras director, said the first version of the ‘test bed’ would be ready by 2019-end and the final version by 2021. “Already nearly 170 people are working on this.

By the time we are through with this, 300 to 400 persons of various profiles will be trained in 5G so that they can join the (mobile network) operators,” Ramamurthi told PTI. “It is an ongoing process and the test bed would facilitate training more professionals to meet the demand,” he added. India is aiming to rollout 5G services simultaneously with other countries, unlike its previous networks 3G and 4G which were deployed much later.As part of the effort, the Centre launched a three-year project ‘Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed’ to advance innovation and research in 5G.

With a budget of Rs 224 crore, the programme has been awarded to IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.The test bed, located partly in all these institutions, envisages close collaboration between the universities and start-ups and create an ecosystem that closely resembles a real-world 5G deployment. The final version of the test bed would be fully compliant, which means “anyone’s handset should work with anyone’s base station (institutions),” the director said.

The test bed is already collaborating with around 12 start-ups working on 5G.  Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has said auction of spectrum for 5G services is likely to happen in the second half of 2019. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha has said government has approved financial grant for the project to set up Indigenous 5G Test Bed’ in India by Indian Institutes of Technology  and Indian Institute of Science.

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