Airtel kicks off 5G trial network in Gurugram with over 1Gbps speed, but you can't try it yet
Bharti Airtel has taken on Jio as it kicked off its 5G trials in Gurugram. These trials have been started just a little over a month after the Indian government gave a green signal to telecom operators in the country to hold trials for the next-generation cellular network tech - 5G. Airtel is giving its 5G network at a maximum speed of over 1Gbps and the site where the trial is running is operating in the 3500MHz band. Just earlier this year, Airtel has demonstrated its 5G network using liberalised spectrum in the 1800MHz band, as per reports.
According to reports, Airtel's 5G trial network is now live in Gurugram's popular Cyber Hub and the company is testing the network in partnership with Swedish equipment maker Ericsson. Following this spate of trials, Airtel reportedly has plans to conduct similar test runs in Mumbai soon.
Airtel's current 5G network is being offered at speed of over 1Gbps and this is significantly faster than what users get on a 4G network in India right now. According to Ookla's speed tests, India ranked 130 on mobile Internet speeds worldwide with an average download speed of 12.81Mbps and upload speeds of 4.79Mbps.
However, if you were hoping to test these incredible 5G speeds right now, you can't, even if you have a compatible device. Government rules currently do not allow testing at consumer levels. Also, devices that telecom operators are using for these trials also require special software updates from the manufacturers' side to test the network. You can only test these networks once they roll out publicly.
The government gave a green signal to telecom operators like Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone Idea in May this year to begging their 5G trials with equipment manufacturers like Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. Airtel received 5G trial spectrums in 3500MHz, 28GHz, and 700MHz bands in Delhi/ NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.
Besides Airtel, Jio is also expected to start its 5G trials soon but has not done so yet. Last year Jio had promised to test 5G in collaboration with Qualcomm and is also working with Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung to enable its telecom gear for 5G in the country, according to reports. Jio is expected to begin its 5G services by the second half of this year, as chairman Mukesh Ambani said in December.
Earlier in January this year, Airtel claimed that they had become the first telco in India to successfully demonstrate 5G services over a commercial network in Hyderabad. The company said they had conducted the demo using liberalised spectrum in the 1800MHz band through the Non-Standalone (NSA) network tech.