Indian govt offers use of 5G test bed free of cost for start-ups, MSMEs

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In a bid to boost the fifth-generation (5G) ecosystem in the country, the government has decided to offer a 5G test bed to use free of cost to select start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for the next six months up to January 2023.

A 5G test bed will help companies test machine-to-machine 5G communication before rolling out their products commercially. In the absence of a 5G test bed, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation.

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“For other stakeholders, this service will be available at affordable price,” the telecom ministry said in a statement, without mentioning any price of the service.

“Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has strongly urged all 5G stakeholders ie industry, academia, service providers, R&D institutions, government bodies, equipment manufacturers etc. to utilize the 5G test bed facilities and expertise to test and facilitate the speedy development and deployment of their products in the network,” it added.

So read: 89% Indians intend to upgrade to 5G network despite challenges: Ookla

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According to the statement, the development of this test bed is a key milestone for India in becoming self-reliant in the 5G technology domain. It will also offer the capability for testing and validation of 5G products being developed and manufactured by the industry, which in turn can result in huge cost efficiency and reduced design time.

The development of this test bed can also result into development of many 5G technologies which can facilitate industry players for smooth and speedy deployment of 5G in India.

The government recently concluded a 5G spectrum auction, in which it garnered a whopping ₹1.53 lakh crore. Further, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the 5G services in the country are expected to begin in October and the sector will remain one of the most affordable in the world, even with 5G.

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Back in 2018, the DoT had approved a financial grant for the multi-institute collaborative project to set up ‘Indigenous 5G Test Bed’ in India with a total cost of ₹224 crore.

The 5G test bed is available at five locations including, the Center of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), a non-profit autonomous research society of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras followed by IIT-Delhi, IIT-Hyderabad, IIT- Kanpur and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, the statement said.

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