Pilot Project of Street Furniture in place at Delhi GMR Airport under TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has kicked off a pilot study at the GMR International Airport in Delhi for the use of street furniture to enhance connectivity. The regulatory body has made a working group for the study, which will have representatives from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), GMR, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Civil Aviation, and major telecom service providers.

This study will help in gaining knowledge about small cell deployment at the Indian airports using lamp posts, lit signage, traffic signals, and more. Small cell deployment on existing infrastructure can reduce the cost of network rollout and ownership of the network by a huge margin for the telcos. It will further enable better coverage for the consumers and help the telecom service providers in coming out with new technologies and services faster.

The benefit of this won’t just be limited to the passengers inside the airport but will also help the respective controlling airport authorities in launching new business cases for providing more efficient passenger and cargo handling services. The use of small cells will be of grave importance when it comes to 5G. With 5G, higher-frequency bands will come into play which in turn would mean that their coverage range will be very low. Thus, with the help of these small cells, the telecom operators can extend and improve coverage at a very efficient cost and in very less time.

But there are a few challenges that need to be addressed around the deployment of small cells. Issues such as RoW (right of way) access, procedural simplification, and many more need to be addressed first if India wants to go ahead with the mass deployment of small cells around the country. Similar pilot tests are being conducted in Bangalore’s Metro Rail, Bhopal Smart City Project, to name a few. These pilot tests will give TRAI and the telecom industry enough data about how small cell deployment should be deployed.