Airtel and Ericsson begin rural 5G trials

6 Oct 2021

India’s Bharti Airtel has launched rural 5G network trials using test 3.5GHz spectrum in partnership with Ericsson, initially in Bhaipur Bramanan village on the outskirts of Delhi. The announcement follows Airtel’s launch of urban 5G trials in June, facilitated by the award of six-month 5G test spectrum permits in late May.

A press release from Ericsson highlights that 5G will be used to help bridge India’s rural-urban digital divide, in a country with some 900 million rural dwellers, noting that the trial in Bhaipur Bramanan focuses on ‘Airtel and Ericsson’s ability to bring 3GPP-compliant Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and enhanced mobile broadband 5G capabilities to larger rural area spans’ plus ‘Airtel’s capability for enabling 5G coverage and capacity over its existing 4G infrastructure.’ Existing FDD spectrum is being utilised alongside the 3.5GHz band for the trial, demonstrating 200Mbps-plus data speeds on a 5G FWA device and 100Mbps-plus speeds on a 5G smartphone, with both speeds recorded at a distance of more than 10km from a test base station. Ericsson added that this equates to an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20km, suitable for 5G broadband deployment across remote areas.

India, Bharti Airtel, Ericsson