Indian Telco Airtel Tests 5G in Mumbai Mall, is Now a Serious Challenger to Jio

China’s Huawei and ZTE have been banned in India, with the government citing national security concerns.

Business tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal’s telecom company Airtel confirmed on Monday that it’s testing 5G networks in the Pheonix Mall of Mumbai’s Lower Parel area. The 5G network has been developed using equipment from Finnish tech player Nokia. 

Talking to Sputnik, an Airtel spokesperson said the network offers a speed of 1GBPS and will be tested in other Indian cities in the coming days. 

“The testing is not open for common people as of now, since we are using the trial spectrum granted to us by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Officials from Nokia and Airtel are testing the network for now. The government has allotted us a time-frame of six months to thoroughly test our networks – during which we will be conducting trials in other urban and rural parts of India as well,” the Airtel spokesperson said. 

FILE - This Feb. 25, 2019 file photo shows a banner of the 5G network is displayed during the Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain.

Airtel is developing 5G with Nokia equipment and also working on creating an indigenous 5G ecosystem in partnership with Indian tech giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Airtel plans to commercially roll out its 5G networks by 2022. 

The company now rivals Ambani-led Jio, which has also facilitated 5G speeds of 1GBPS using India-made equipment. 

Jio plans to bring 5G to India within the next six months. 

Both the telecom companies are mammoth players in the industry. As per the subscriber data released by TRAI for the month of March 2021, Jio has a total of 422.92 million wireless subscribers followed by Airtel with 352.40 million. 

A Huawei logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, China, 23 February 2021.

India’s government has directed telecom companies to refrain from using Chinese 5G tech from Huawei and ZTE citing security concerns.

India’s nationwide 5G trials were scheduled for 2020, but the COVID pandemic postponed testing until this year. 

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