Vodafone Idea, Nokia Demonstrate 5G Vonr In India


By Juan Pedro Tomás

Indian telecom operator Vodafone Idea says that it has successfully demonstrated 5G Voice over New Radio (VoNR) in partnership with Finnish vendor Nokia.

The telco said that the demo was part of the ongoing 5G trials in the city of Gandhinagar, in Gujarat.

Once deployed, the VoNR solution will enable the Indian carrier to offer its subscribers high-definition voice over 5G, as well as several advanced voice applications and use cases in the future.

Vodafone Idea is currently conducting 5G trials using 5G spectrum allocated by the government in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Pune in Maharashtra.

The VoNR trial was done using Nokia’s portfolio of solutions including its AirScale 5G RAN, 5G Core and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) voice core.

CTO, at Vodafone Idea Jagbir Singh said: “We are testing technology solutions for offering superior network experience and use cases of relevance to digital enterprises and consumers, during our 5G trials. Having achieved fastest 5G speeds in the country and demonstration of a wide range of use cases, we have now successfully tested VoNR service which offers the best call quality on 5G networks, using technology solutions from Nokia.”

Earlier, during its 5G trials with Nokia in Gandhinagar, Vodafone Idea recorded speeds over 4 Gbps and showcased consumer use cases such as AI based VR streaming, Roller Coaster Gaming, VR 5G Connected Schools and 360 degree VR Content Playback.

The carrier also used Nokia’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) and 5G core to demonstrate secure network slicing use case, as well as trialed the use of 5G in mid-band to provide rural broadband connectivity in Gandhinagar.

Indian operators Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have recently received a six-month extension from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct 5G trials. With this extension, the carriers will be able to carry out 5G trials until May next year. Initially, telcos had been authorized to test 5G technology until 26 November.

In May, the DoT had awarded 5G trial spectrum for six months in the 700 Mhz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands, paving the way for local carriers to partner and develop 5G use cases.

The long-awaited 5G spectrum auction could take place in May this year if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) submits by March its recommendations on the rules regarding the auction process, according to local press reports.

The country’s Telecommunications and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently said in an interview with CNBC that the government expected to conclude the 5G spectrum auction by August.

The ministry said that the country’s telecoms regulator TRAI is in the final stages of its consultation with the telecommunication industry on the rollout of 5G in India and is expected to produce a report by March. “By end of March, we would be ready with everything that is required for the auction process,” Vaishnaw reportedly said.

“We expect the auction process to be completed by somewhere near July, August,” he said, adding that the industry is also preparing equipment and 5G rollout plans, including which cities would be prioritized.

According to previous reports, India plans to award bands such as 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.3-3.6 GHz. Through the spectrum auction, operators will be also able to bid for spectrum in the millimeter-wave band.

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