Speaking at an event commemorating the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s 25th anniversary, while dedicating 5G Test Bed to the Nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on the government and industry to work together to accelerate the rollout of 5G services, which could add US$ 450 billion to the Indian economy over the next 15 years. He said that 5G would bring positive change in governance, ease of living and ease of doing business. Agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, and logistics will all see increased growth as a result of this.
The Prime Minister wants the country to be ready to introduce 6G service by the end of the decade. A task group had already been established to oversee its implementation.
After years in the making, the fifth generation of wireless connectivity is soon going to become a reality in India. It will usher in an era of radical new possibilities in many industries and other sectors. It is also to usher increased and pervasive benefits in efficiency and productivity for governments and businesses in a post-pandemic world, through innovative use cases such as autonomous drones and smart city ecosystems.
The possible impact of 5G technology on the Indian economy in general and industries in particular is one of the most talked about areas of economy and industries in India. The 5G era will deliver higher speeds and expanded connectivity on multiple devices, and that is how it will change lives forever. As the 5G technology will enable the high speed of data transfer, high-speed internet industries such as agriculture, healthcare and internet of things (IoT) are expected to experience digital transformation as they become available everywhere. Reforms in defence technologies are also possible with new technology.
See the other dimension. The global 5G core market size is projected to grow from USD 630 million in 2020 to USD 9,497 million by 2025.
India is ready to embrace it. Internet penetration rate in India is inching close to 50%. There were 65.80 crore internet users in India in January 2022. Internet users in India are estimated to have increased by +5.4 percent between 2021 and 2022. The introduction of fifth-generation cellular technology in India is set to further increase the penetration rate.
5G will become a foundation for innovation, with faster data speeds and increased device density, and ultra low latency, it will not only transform many sectors of the economy , but will also create those industry verticals, which are not even imagined today. This will have broad and deep economic implications both by industry and by region, far beyond such established tech hubs or urban centres.
How will 5G contribute to economic activity? At first, it will directly contribute through network infrastructure deployment. The industries expected to reap most of these direct benefits during first wave include:
Construction – as 5G will need to build additional access points such as macro sites, small cells, and edge data centres. Similarly, upgrading and expanding the fibre footprint for the core network will be urgently needed.
Information services – as network complexity creates demand for engineering and software services, besides upgrading software of existing 5G-ready devices.
Manufacturing – as demand grows for infrastructure-related equipment.
The second and even greater wave of economic activity will occur as the networks will enable new and improved use cases across industries. This second wave will require the operators to expand 5G networks across the country. Furthermore, the availability of 5G will play a vital role in enhancing the functionality of smart devices, which will lead to digital transformation in various industries. For example, real-time communication and newer devices will stimulate growth not only in retail but also in upstream industries such as manufacturing, as well as in adjacent industries such as media.
Similarly, 5G-enabled mobile banking and digital wallets will drive product and service innovation in the finance industry. This will also broadly enhance economic vibrancy by providing seamless transaction experiences. Real-time communication could boost sectors such as travel and tourism and restaurants. The 5G will indirectly boost employment as well, as demand for digital products and services will grow. That will require even more computer- and IT-related workers to deliver next-generation data infrastructure and applications. Software developers, data scientists, information security analysts, network architects, and research scientists will all be highly required.
A direct relationship between the pace of mobile adoption and economic activities has already been established. Once the deliverance at faster speeds and higher reliability is added to it, it will spur additional activity across consumer, industrial, and public domains.
On its part, in order to facilitate development of the 5G ecosystem, the government of India has freed a set of spectrum in the 5 Ghz band from licensing for providing Wifi and partially 5G services by telecom companies, way back in 2018. As per the government policy, no permits are required for the spectrum in the range of 5150-5250 megahertz band, 5250-5350 Mhz and 5725-5875 Mhz. Nor any licence would be required under indoor and outdoor environments to establish, maintain, work, possess or deal in any wireless equipment for the purpose of low power wireless access systems, including radio local area networks.
According to the government policy, the 5 Ghz spectrum frequency can be used for short range communications like for coverage within an apartment or shopping centres. The government under Bharat Net project is rolling out 1 crore wifi hotspots in the country in rural areas.
The government has already connected around 175,000 gram panchayats to broadband.
On 4th May, 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India, approved permissions to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) for conducting trials for use and applications of 5G technology for a period of 6 months. NewsOnAIR