Amid concerns in the western world about operations of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the company has been allowed by India to participate in 5G trials, a sign of the new atmosphere of political goodwill between the two neighbours' leadership.
In an invitation to Huawei, the telecom secretary asked it to participate in the trials, and even complimented it for developing the telecom sector in India. The others invited are Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, all of whom have started making presentations to the government.
“Even if you only have 1% of your subscribers’ base taking the service in India, that’s still 3 to 4 million people, and in Europe, that’s 100% of your subscriber base in any country,” Phil Twist, vice-president of Networks Marketing and Communications at Nokia, said in an interview with The Economic Times.
“So there is a huge opportunity and then an unserved market opportunity,” Twist stressed. He said he saw no reason India will not be able to launch 5G by 2020.
The Chinese firm – now the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment – has been ostracized in a host of developed markets amid a US-led campaign to discredit Huawei citing security concerns.
A Huawei statement said: "As a leading global supplier of telecoms equipment, we remain committed to developing trusted and secure solutions for our customers. We continue to receive full support from the Government and industry partners alike. Having a proven track record of doing business in the country, we continue to work closely with Government of India and other industry stakeholders."
Early this year, Huawei conducted 5G trials in laboratory with Bharti Airtel in India where it achieved broadband speed of more than 3 Gbps in 3.5 GHz spectrum band.
Chen said Huawei is focussing on fixed wireless access, enhanced mobile broadband, WTTX, which is delivering fiber quality broadband in wireless mode, and ultra high definition video transfer.
“We are investing in India with long-term vision. I see India to be the most dynamic country in terms of overall economic growth in next 5 years when Indian telecom sector will be full of hope and opportunities as things are moving in right direction. 5G is going to transform everything,” Chen said.
The commercial rollout of 5G is expected to take place in India in 2020. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore.
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