India offers Indigenous 5G Test Bed free of charge to start-ups and MSMEs

10 October 2022

The Government of India has decided to offer the use of the Indigenous 5G Test Bed free, of charge to government-recognised start-ups and MSMEs up until January 2023, with the aim of boosting the 5G ecosystem within India, and to achieve the objectives of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives. The test bed will be available at a nominal rate to all other stakeholders.

The Department of Telecommunications has urged all 5G stakeholders to utilise the test bed facilities and expertise in order to facilitate the rapid development and deployment of their products on the network. Industry, service providers, academia, R&D institutions, government bodies and equipment manufacturer stakeholders are all expected to participate.

The development of the Indigenous 5G Test Bed is a milestone for India en route to becoming self-reliant in the 5G arena. Development of the test bed began in 2018 as a multi-institute collaborative project after the Department of Telecommunications approved a grant for 5G deployment. The Indigenous 5G Test Bed was developed at a final cost of Rs 224 crore by eight collaborating companies: IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).

The Indigenous 5G Test Bed enables R&D teams of academia and industry to validate their products, prototypes and algorithms, and demonstrate various services. The test bed, which complies with the global 3GPP standard and the ORAN standard, offers access for research teams to work on novel concepts holding potential for standardisation both in India and globally. It provides the facilities of 5G networks for demonstrating applications of importance to India like rural broadband, smart city applications and intelligent transport systems.