Optical fibre maker Sterlite Technologies on 10 December 2019 said it has entered into a pact with Indian Institute of Technology Madras for research and advancements in 5G communications technology in the country. Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology Madras for sponsoring a chair professorship in 5G, the company said in a filing to BSE. Announcement of the first occupant of the Chair Professorship will happen in the first quarter of 2020.
 
What
  1. Through this partnership, STL and IIT Madras are committed to realise the enormous potential of 5G for customers and industry in India and global markets. 
  2. The Chair Occupant will work towards accelerating the advancements in 5G by unifying IIT Madras’ research and domain knowledge with STL’s industry expertise in 5G and end-to-end network connectivity.
  3. The initiative will play a critical role in boosting innovation and developing young talent in the 5G domain. 
  4. With industry and academia getting together, this collaboration can be a cornerstone in discovering unique opportunities and making industrial relevance more prominent in academic research.
India's 5G journey
  1. The government in 2017 had set up a high-level forum to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans to bring 5G in the country by 2020
  2. A steering committee chaired by Prof. A J Paulraj of Stanford University created seven task Forces including ones around Spectrum Policy, Regulatory Policy, Application, and Use Case Labs among others. The High-Level Forum report recommended establishing application and use case labs in India and developing locally tailored solutions. 
  3. The task force set up to devise a framework for 5G related Applications and Use Case Labs (UCL) recommended that UCLs be set up in each economic vertical with Agriculture, Health, Banking, and Railways UCLs to start in the first phase.
  4. The government launched a three -year program namely ‘Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed’ to advance innovation and research into 5G which began in March 2018, with a budget authorization of Rs 224 crore.
  5. Sweden's Ericsson became the first gear vendor to launch a public access 5G testbed at IIT Delhi in July 2018 to develop new applications to allow the industry and relevant institutions to work on India specific usage scenarios and applications. 
  6. In May 2019, it briefly halted its work after its radiating spectrum license expired. Nokia, on the other hand, is developed 5G local use cases in partnership with enterprises and startups at its Bengaluru R&D center.
  7. Huawei is also looking to establish its own testbed in India in partnership with institutes like IITs. It has started discussions with academia and telcos to set it up to test the technology and identify new use cases.
  8. There has been uncertainty over Huawei and ZTE's participation in India's 5G field trials and commercial networks going forward. 
  9. Indian telecom operators had earlier this year sought clarity over the participation of Huawei in 5G field trials and permitting its equipment in their 5G networks. 
  10. The Indian government has already conveyed that it will not compromise on the security of its telecom networks and accords high priority to data sovereignty.

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