India to start 5G trials in 100 days; no decision on Huawei yet: R S Prasad

New Delhi, Jun 4: India will auction 5G spectrum this year but it’s yet to decide if Chinese company Huawei will be allowed to participate in trials for the technology, said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Monday.
The Trump administration last month placed Huawei and its affiliates on a blacklist, effectively banning the telecom equipment company that’s regarded as the leader in 5G technology from purchasing components from American firms without government approval.
“We will take a firm view on it. There are also security issues–it is not only a matter of technology, as regard their participation in 5G is concerned…Participation of 5G is not conditional upon the trial being started,” said Prasad, adding trials will start in 100 days.
“Whether a particular company is allowed to participate or not, is a complex question including security issues,” he said in Delhi after taking charge of the telecom ministry.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies, including those for 5G services, at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, but telecom companies say they can’t afford the price tag.
Prasad said he expects either the Parliament’s standing committee on telecom or the finance committee will provide a solution on pricing 5G.
“It shall be our endeavour that 5G technology is also used for deprived sections, social causes, education and health, and for bringing technology to rural people,” Prasad said.