Vodafone Idea (Vi), is conducting a trial on use of street furniture for Small Cells and Aerial Fibre deployment in Bhopal Smart City, as part of a pilot test hosted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. These pilots are aimed at making cross sectoral infrastructure more accessible for quick roll out of the 5G networks.
Street furniture such as Traffic signal pole, Street light pole, Smart Pole, Billboard, Direction Board, Road Signage, Foot over bridge and city Bus Shelter are being used for testing 5G small cells. To test 5G readiness, TRAI has selected Vi to conduct trials at Bhopal Smart City as the main smart city locations in the country. The pilot involved coordination, administrative, permissions, authorisation to use and other support from various entities like MP State Government, Bhopal Municipal corporation, District Collector office, Bhopal Smart City, Bhopal Police, Bhopal City link Ltd (Bus city service), DISCOM, Advertising agency and other state Government bodies. The learnings of this project will in-turn be used for 5G deployment in other Smart Cities in the country. In this pilot, Vi has demonstrated 5G download speed of 1Gbps on mobile handset at four locations- New Market, Jyoti Square, Prabhat Petrol Pump and Inter State Bus Terminus.
TRAI has been testing 5G readiness using small cell and aerial fiber in different locations across the country. Vi is also conducting trials on use of street furniture for Small Cells and Aerial Fibre deployment at Bengaluru Metro Rail, New Delhi International Airport, Deendayal Port – Kandla in Gujarat.
Vi has demonstrated a range of 5G-based technology solutions and use cases as part of its 5G trials on government allocated trial spectrum in Pune, Maharashtra and Gandhinagar, Gujarat earlier.
Small Cells are network equipment being deployed by Vi to enhance 4G network coverage and capacity. Trials are being conducted to test the equipment for 5G network deployments in the future. It uses higher frequencies’ spectrum to provide ultra-high broadband speed and are placed closer to user to provide quick responses to user’s request. As per TRAI, these pilots will be very helpful in making cross sectoral infrastructure more accessible for quick roll out of the 5G networks for Telcos, post allotment of 5G frequencies by DoT. Hundreds of 5G Small Cells are needed to be installed in a square kilometer of area to provide good coverage. Use of Street furniture already available at various locations areas like poles, billboards etc. can be used for mounting these 5G Small Cells, obviating the need for erecting thousands of new towers. This will not only ensure faster deployment of 5G but also unlock true potential of underutilized street furniture at ports.