The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said that it supports the use of street furniture to deploy small cells. According to Lt. Gen. Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, a key driver in 5G deployment would be the deployment of small cells.
Small cells are essential to upgrade and expand the existing 4G networks in India. In line with the same, COAI, along with the members of the State Electricity Department, telecom service providers (TSPs), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), provided a concrete proposal for the use of electric poles for 5G small cell deployments.
Will India See 5G Small Cells Deployed on Electric Poles?
COAI said that it is in close contact with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and is coordinating with the OEMs for providing inputs on technical specifications, power requirements, aesthetics, backhaul requirements, etc.
The industry body also said that initiatives for sharing the existing infrastructure between TSPs should be enabled as there are a lot of challenges in laying overhead fiber cable (OFC).
Small cells would be very crucial with the rollout of 5G in India. Especially with the mmWave spectrum services into play, the telcos would need to put in more sites so that the signals in the higher frequency bands don’t get disturbed. This is where small cells would play a huge role.
But there is a lot of uncertainty around the use of street furniture. The government would also need to assess all the infrastructure that it owns and which would be eligible to be used for deploying small cells.
The good thing is, India has a lot of time with 5G rollout. There are still months left for the telcos to finish up with their 5G trials, and that gives the policy makes plenty of time for ensuring that a suitable playground for the sector is provided to reap the most out of 5G technology.