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Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia has announced it can help telecom companies migrate from 4G/LTE radio stations to 5G without actually having the engineers visit the site and replace the existing hardware thus saving a lot on additional costs.
According to Nokia, it can migrate over one million 4G/LTE radios and by the end of the year, the number can go up to 3.1 million. Nokia says that over 5 million radios can be migrated to 5G by the end of 2021.
In simpler terms, Nokia’s solution to telecom companies helps immediately increase the reach and availability of 5G/NR networks without investing in new hardware. There is a small catch though, the switch to the 5G is only possible if the telecom operator has deployed compatible FDD RF Units. Nokia’s solution, however, is future proof with a scope of further upgrades.
As per Nokia, upgrading the existing 4G RAN (Radio Access Network) to 5G offers savings that can run into billions easily making it ideal for countries like India where 5G technology is yet to take baby steps though being commercially available in various countries.
As additional cost is the primary reason why most Indian telcos are holding back from committing to 5G, companies like Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have asked the government to lower the base price for spectrum. In fact, Airtel had stated that it may not participate in the spectrum auction at the rates suggested by the government.
Apart from the upfront investment in spectrum, a lot of funds are required for upgrading hardware which the companies are not ready to commit given the current market scenario.
While it is up to the government to decide on the spectrum costs, Nokia’s solution could be ideal for Indian companies, in case the existing radios are upgradable.