The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) wireless planning and coordination (WPC) wing has allotted 100, 800 and 10 units of experimental 5G airwaves to Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) in the 3.5 GHz, 26 GHz and 700 MHz bands respectively. The 5G trial airwaves have been allocated for six months.

This will pave the way for Airtel, Jio and Vi to partner with non-Chinese network vendors and develop India-relevant use cases on 5G.

The development marks the first official allocation of 5G trial spectrum in the coveted 26 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) band that ranges from 24.25-to 28.5 GHz frequencies.  According to industry sources, DoT is set to send a referral to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to suggest reserve prices for all spectrum bands cleared for 5G trials, including 26 GHz, 3.3-3.67 GHz and 700 MHz in the run up to the next auction. Further, the DoT is also likely to ask the TRAI to set a base price for the 600 MHz sub-GHz band, which has not been auctioned previously.

Meanwhile, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) will be given trial spectrum once it submits fees of Rs 5,000 required for the permission. MTNL has reportedly teamed up with Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) for conducting 5G trials in Delhi. According to industry sources, MTNL will be conducting a 5G test near Najafgarh as well.

In a similar development, the DoT is likely to direct telcos to conduct 5G trials in rural areas as well, along with permitted urban centres.