The wait for a 5G network in India may become a little longer as network gear supply in the country may be disrupted in the weeks ahead. This is because, beginning July 1, 2022, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) intends to evaluate all foreign-made network gear for safety procedures at local research facilities under the Mandatory Testing & Certification of Telecom Equipment (MTCTE) regulations.
The DoT’s mandate that all network equipment be tested by local labs accredited through its technical arm, the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), could potentially delay 5G rollouts. While the executives want to delay the timeframe from July 1 to January 1, 2023. Since the necessary knowledge and skills have not yet been acquired by domestic labs, so exhaustive testing of the most recent imported radio network hardware cannot yet be performed.
Another industry expert believes that the government should delay the adoption of local testing until January 2023 in order to ensure a seamless rollout of the 4G/5G network. Moreover, India plans to hold an auction for 5G spectrum between the months of June and July, and it anticipates making the first 5G call between the months of August and September.
A major Network Vendor Executive told Economic Times,
Testing and certification of network gear is highly complex and the Indian labs ecosystem is working overtime to gain this expertise…but since they will be testing radio equipment for the first time, they need more time to move up the learning curve as training efforts have been hindered by the pandemic, shortage of skilled manpower and restrictions on international travel.
We’ve pointed out to the government that while 2G technology is being phased out in many countries, it’s still needed in India to support nearly 280 million 2G users, and so should be exempted from the MTCTE regime to ensure unhindered delivery of 2G services.
According to a Senior Telecommunications Executive,
The government must realize that 5G will be riding on existing 4G networks, and hence operators will be investing in their 4G networks along with 5G technology. So if 4G networks expansion is in a disarray, it will have a direct fallout on the proposed 5G launches in India.