State-owned telco BSNL has signed a deal with Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson to develop 5G use cases, knowledge sharing, and keeping up with industry trends such as 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardization.

The deal with Ericsson includes work with Ericsson’s 5G center of excellence and innovation at IIT-Delhi established earlier this year. The center will put together people from the telecom system, academia, industry and startups. It will be roped in to evaluate the benefits of 5G in in connected healthcare, public safety, video surveillance, energy, agriculture, rural connectivity, etc.

David Hammarwall, Head of Product line 5G RAN at Ericsson, told BusinessLine that the deal will also look at industrial IoT applications, such as connected smart grids in agriculture, connected factories, and so on.

For context, BSNL hasn’t yet started its 4G rollout. It was just last month that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved a plan by the PSU that seeks airwaves in the 2100 MHz band to launch 4G services.

The same month, BSNL tied up with Japanese telco NTT and Softbank for deployment of 5G and Internet of Things devices (IoT). Moreover, BSNL is in talks with Softbank and other companies to work on OneWeb — a network of satellites that will provide internet connectivity in under-connected areas. NTT also agreed (in February this year) to create a ‘5G test bed’ with BSNL for artificial intelligence and IoT deployment.

Per an Ericsson report, the 5G-enabled services in India can potentially generate $27 billion by 2026. Indian telecom operators can generate an additional revenue of $12 billion, if they provide 5G services instead of just 5G connectivity.

5G Spectrum auction

Only 3 telecom operators participated in the spectrum auctions this year; Reliance Jio, the merged entity that is Vodafone Idea, and Airtel. The TRAI proposed that the government sell a couple of bands, among them two 5G bands —  3300–3400 MHz and 3400–3600 MHz. The regulator also recommended that government put up all the 300 units of airwaves for the 5G auction.

Read more about the 5G spectrum auction here.