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Desh Ki Digital Udaan- Episode 4

The fourth episode of the of the 25 years of mobility webinar series, Desh Ki Digital Udaan, looked at network affordability and how it is a trendsetter for cost, business and service transformation.

The webinar was organised by India Mobile Congress, a digital technology forum organised by DoT and COAI. Communications Today was one of the media partners.

The keynote address was delivered by Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, and the discussion moderated by Amit Marwah, Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs-CMO, Nokia. The welcome address was delivered by Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, DG, COAI.

The participants in panel discussion were Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel; Vishant Vora, former CTO, Vodafone Idea; Shyam Mardikar, CTO, Reliance Jio Infocomm; Vikram Anand, Sr. Director Sales, Ciena Communications; Sandeep Dhingra, CTO-Network Services Business, STL; and David Stokes, Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing, Ribbon Communication.

A report.

SP Kochhar

“In this year 2020, we complete 25 successful years of mobile telephony and digital services  in India. In these 25 years, the telecom networks  have witnessed tremendous transformation, from 2G to 4G, and now we are headed toward 5G. The Indian telcos were the pioneers in the outsourcing model, which has defined a new trend in the telecom networks across the globe. Driven by the outsourcing model, in which the Indian providers outsource their networks, the massive infrastructure, their towers and the sites, IT infrastructure, VAS infrastructure and under consideration is sharing the active infrastructure and spectrum, the Indian telecom networks today are state-of-the-art and among the most robust in the world.

With 4G networks across India and continued deployment of fibre-to-the-home, telecom services have become a mainstay of many sectors and most of them have incorporated these into their core activities, thus reducing the cost of physical infrastructure, increasing reach and transforming the delivery of services.

I welcome you all to the fourth episode, themed, Network affordability, trendsetter for cost, business and service transformation of a webinar series, Desh Ki Digital Udaan.

Operators are increasingly seeking ways to increase revenue and cut costs in a high growth environment, made more complicated by the demanding requirements of new services, i.e. high speed, low latency, and ultra-reliability.

Operators therefore need to evolve their networks using innovations such as virtual RAN, edge computing and network automation to meet the demands of the 4G-5G era. Today, operators are looking at innovative business models and moving toward multi-vendor network automation and monitoring services. Currently, technology advancements such as cloud, AI, network orchestration and modernization are all contributing to more efficient network function.”

Ashutosh Sharma
“The unprecedented development and progress across the nation brought about, through digital services is gearing to contribute USD 1 trillion, out of a USD 5 trillion economy, thereby also creating countless jobs. The sheer transformation, through the digital spread and the resulting empowerment of Indians is genuinely remarkable. In terms of promising a digital economy, India is poised to be a prominent name to reckon with, on the global map. And I’m really delighted to be part of this  significant milestone of the Indian telecom industry.

In the field of science and technology,  we still have a long way ahead. It’s not just a vertical path anymore, it’s really horizontal, that cuts across every sector, and every activity that we undertake. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, internet of everything, and 5G are significantly impacting the processes and inspirations in critical sectors, including manufacturing, education, healthcare, agriculture, financial and social activities. Development of these technologies has the potential to disrupt and change the working of all these sectors, which will lead to an innovative wave and add immense value. The future is coming at us, at a faster and faster rate.

The future is all about convergence of technologies. What are these technologies and what does convergence mean?  It’s all about smart materials and stimuli-responsive materials working together with communication technologies, data transmission, data handling, perception through sensors, data analytics; making autonomous decisions based on data and information; and using artificial intelligence, machine learning; and finally making autonomous actions through actuators. Everything that we are going to be doing in the future is a combination, an integration, a convergence of these technologies; from communication, to computation, to perception, to action.

Convergence of technologies is impacting the missions, which are launched by department of science and technology. One such mission is on cyber physical systems, which was launched last year, at an investment of Rs 3660 crores. It is setting up more than 20 hubs across the country, and several of them focus on computing and communication and their interplay through artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT.

Communication is no longer confined to person-to-person communication. That by itself is a game changer. We need speed, and bandwidth, low latency-a stability of communication.

We are entering an unprecedented era of communication. Visual communications has become very important. It requires downloading and communicating very large chunks of data with speed and scale.

Industry 4.0 is a good example of machine-to-machine communication, and communication between things. Industry 4.0 would certainly be powered by the twins of communication and computing. With 5G and realization of the fourth industrial revolution, service delivery and operations are getting increasingly complex. We need to utilize machine learning, and leverage intent-driven closed-loop autonomous operations, driving business agility and offer differentiated customer experience.

Additionally, with the advent of upcoming technologies, the market and enterprise customers are also expected to transform. There is expected to be a five-fold increase in economic value from India’s digital transformation by 2025. And this would create a rapidly growing market for a host of digital services, platforms, applications, content and solutions. This represents an attractive opportunity for global and local businesses.

The science that drives these transformations is global. But the technology that we use has local aspirations, needs, and priorities that drive the start-ups and platform-based innovators, who would be investing in emerging technologies.

The department of science and technology has been a major part of the evolving journey of many start-ups. In the last five years, for incubators and start-ups, the department has done more than what it had done in the previous 50 years. There are now, 150 operating incubators, with 4000 technology companies. Focused on computing, and artificial intelligence communication, we are bringing value to these high-tech start-ups. Clearly, communication of the future is driven equally by software and with algorithms, as by hardware. And it is all happening at a huge speed, with great intent and skills.

A new program on technology fusion and application research has been launched recently by the department of science and technology. In response to the ever-increasing technological requirements of society, and considering the international trends of next-gen technologies, this program will boost research for fusion, convergence, and application of emerging technologies, such as quantum-enabled science and technology, imaging spectroscopy, epidemiological data analytics, and Indian heritage in digital space.

Quantum technologies are on the rise. There is a national, transformative mission, that we have undertaken recently. An investment of Rs 8000 crores was allocated for this in the last union budget. The mission includes not just quantum computing, but more importantly, quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum algorithms, quantum devices, and quantum sensors, which are poised to become increasingly important in the years, decades or perhaps centuries to come. It is for the future of humanity.

Post -COVID, we will continue to have overarching challenges of sustainable development, healthcare for all, climate change, the rise of antimicrobial resistance, together with the rise of intelligent machines. Communication is an integral part of addressing these challenges leading to sustainable development, reaching the last mile, the last person for digital delivery of healthcare.

The next 25 years in India will be a global game changer, and we need to not just leapfrog, but pole-vault and be totally ready for the anticipated disruptive changes.”

Amit Marwah as the moderator for this session
“In the last 25 years, we have had a phenomenal journey of taking India’s mobility to where it is, thanks to the networks that have been set up. A journey from no subscribers to almost 1.1 billion subscribers, the second highest number of users in the world; the highest data consuming market in the world; the urban teledensity at 150 percent, and rural density going up substantially to 60 percent.

Not only have we reached these milestones, India has taken the initiative and been a trendsetter in a number of new initiatives, and business models. To elucidate, managed services as a business model was conceived and made successful in India; managed capacity as a model was made successful first in India; infra-sharing by tower companies set up as a successful business case was also an innovation out of India. And more recently, use cases like voice over LTE, with the largest number of deployments and cloud deployments, India has probably superseded or has one of the largest in the world.

All of us have been part of this journey, from the TSPs to the entire ecosystem, and have contributed to building the networks to what they are today.

But at the core of all this, has been the efficiency that we have tried to extract from our networks and create perhaps the best possible CapEx and OpEx models in the world.

This topic of discussion today is network affordability. While a lot has been done in the past, there is lots more that can be done, and will be done in the future with technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud and others that transform the networks, before 5G. We have been given another chance to lead the world as trendsetters in making the transformation.”

Randeep Sekhon
With the transformational effort on the path to 5G, networks are evolving and becoming more complex. At Airtel, despite these complexities, how are you planning to deliver cost-effective network in the future?

“While the technology is becoming more complex; tools, that were not there when 4G services were being rolled out are becoming available. For instance, cloud orchestration is making service deployment much easier, and scalability much faster.
AI and ML are being used for faster planning and zero-touch installation, self-healing networks are possible with automation. While these new technologies make the network very complex, if investments are made at the right time, they will help deliver and manage networks and customer experience in a more automated way.

The next wave of 5G brings its own set of complexities, not just for RAN as a technology, but also the ecosystem, that has to deliver. This includes transport network, core network, and the services.

Airtel is preparing its networks on the core and transport side for automated deployment and automated readiness; and on infra side, especially RAN and MIMO, working with our partners to deliver these technologies such that they are less power-guzzling, occupy less space, and are more and more efficient, when delivered,  through a partner ecosystem, comprising supplier partners, infra partners, and the telcos.Apart from the challenge of delivering, it presents a big opportunity of bringing in a Make in India story and keeping our promise. We can ensure that all these technologies are Made in India, not only for Indian consumption, but also for the global market. Since Nokia, Ericsson and Ciena have manufacturing facilities in India, it will also ensure that we are not too heavy on CapEx.”

Shyam Mardikar
On how cost efficiency can be delivered to improve margins in networks of the future. What needs to be done, such that the network is more efficient and directly leads to improve the bottom line of the service providers?

“Going digital is bringing in an unprecedented increase in both complexity as well as scale. India has handled scale and is very good at harnessing economies of scale, having serviced more than a billion customers, efficiently and effectively.

With 5G, it is the entire product suite, the entire portfolio that has become so orthogonal, that the various service sets are totally independent of each other-the needs of an enterprise, a machine, a retail customer, or a consumer at home. Multiple vectors come into play : of latency, bandwidth, type of content being used, frequency of transaction, and security, to name a few. At the design stage, the ability to understand the scope and span of each of these service sets, and then design the network, one that delivers near optimum level, not only from an efficiency and utilization perspective but also from the topology, architecture, and management perspective that kind of drives it, becomes very important.

Also, given the scale and complexity, it will be totally infeasible to manage and run the networks in the old way, by which I refer not to a manual or automated way; but the way in which the network components adapt or move themselves in accordance with the service suites. The underlying systems need to be aware of what is happening at the service plane, be continuously in real time, exchanging data with each other, processing that data, so that some kind of intelligence can be built on the fly and then delivered in the right set and the right kind. This is on the assumption that the underlying simplicity, as well as the economics of the service also get built into it.

To create, deliver and service the customer; be it man, machine, or enterprise; in the best and the most economical way possible, is what will come out of this tenet, what we refer to as programmable network. Unless this tenet is built into the end to-end ecosystem, right from a self-aware software layer, to the infrastructure layer, that continuously updates the kind of nodes and the services, which are delivered to the customer. Unless all this gets stitched together, our ability to run, deploy and create a network of the future will be challenged. Programmability becomes one of the biggest tenet, differentiation of service suites in accordance to the demand and supply become bigger capabilities, and the awareness and evolving delivery on the real time become a big cost factor optimization.

In the digital, 5G-plus world, it’s not a new radio which is being launched, it’s a bigger ecosystem, wherein the concept of first mile and last mile, the very hierarchy of the old networks is collapsing. And once this network cements itself in the ecosystem, where every piece of connectivity is just a single hop, from the core to the device, it will automatically try and create an economic value, which makes it so much more worthwhile to go digital, and to service billions of customers, and hundreds and thousands of service suites.”

Vishant Vora
You have built some of the biggest cloud networks already there in India and are doing huge massive MIMO deployment, Please elaborate on some challenges that you have faced and are expecting as the networks transform in the future.

 “A couple of years ago, as we were getting ready to merge the two networks of Vodafone and Idea, we decided to be ready for that world of tomorrow, where we have a platform, with the capabilities of a 5G network. We saw that as the key, to be able to reduce prices and costs, the most important factor in India.  And also how incredibly important those capabilities would be to capture new business opportunities. Some of the challenges that we encountered on this journey, and going forward too, is that as we try to cloudify our network more and more, it is very important that we try to make it universal, so that the cloud is able to host as many different network applications, IT applications, and third-party applications as possible.

This enables spread the cost of that investment across multiple different applications, that sitting on the same cloud, allow improving experience, in terms of creating new capabilities and new differentiated, personalised services, whether for an enterprise or a consumer client. And as you start to decouple or disaggregate that cloud, you build strong capabilities for cloud engineering within the organization.

Secondly, you need to start understanding and looking at the network, that is now going to behave very much like the IT estate has been behaving for the last 20 years. And that is very different from the traditional perspective, where monolithic systems were procured from the network equipment providers, and deployed, never needing to open the box and look inside. As this universal cloud is orchestrated, it’s very important to have proper engineering skills in-house, and also to orchestrate it as a single cloud, given that we have 90 different locations that need not be managed independently. Orchestrating it as a single unit requires quite a bit of rethinking, not only as we design networks or build capabilities, but also how we manage and operate it. The entire operating model within the company has to be rethought and more standardized than has traditionally been in the industry. This is another big change that needs to be made in the operating model.

The third part is to have integration capabilities created, wherein the system integration part of the new cloud becomes important. And once these skills are created, lots of new services will become critical for India, because India needs not only cheap connectivity, but needs the telcos to become the base platform, the horizontal industry, instead of the vertical one they are today, on which the entire Digital India model will be built. And for this, very strong system integration capabilities are required, be it in your own company or in partnership.

These are the key factors that I see requisite for success in the future.”

Sandeep Dhingra
“We need to holistically look at three models- Architecture Model, Operations Model, and Business Model. Also, look at the physical infrastructure along with the Architecture Model: whether it is virtualization, SDN, NFV, or cloud-native capabilities, or distributed cloud architecture.

In the case of physical infrastructure, whether it is affordability or longevity, building the infrastructure right in the first attempt is a key to develop future-ready infrastructure. Fiberisation is the foundation for a strong infrastructure. In India, we still have a very low level of fiberisation for towers or small cells. A mere 16-20 percent of towers are fiberized in India, which is significantly lesser than 70-80 percent in the US. The gap needs to be bridged with dense fiberisation and FTTH rollouts. Also, there should be efficiencies in deployment. These are essential to support the upper layer architecture model and operating model.

Another important thing is convergence. From an STL perspective, we talk about the convergence between wired and wireless, hardware and software (from silicon to software), and connectivity and edge compute. As they are interconnected, we have to think about this holistically. For instance, automation won’t be possible if infrastructure cloudification doesn’t happen, and cloudification will not work if dev-ops is not incorporated.

The architecture model and operating model are linked together and need to be looked at in a comprehensive framework that includes not only the Capex/Opex calculation but also helps in terms of new revenue opportunities.

This is how I believe infrastructure, architecture, operations, and business perspective need to be integrated. As an SI, that’s how we help our customers become future-ready.”


Vikram S Anand
Your thoughts on how vertical industry partnerships will become part of this whole transition journey and what steps need to be taken from the network perspective to move in the right direction.

“Let us first demystify what the enterprise requirements really are.

When the enterprise CIO is building applications for vertical specific use cases today, he is aware that 5G can bring in a lot more value to their line of business, and that’s primarily because of the sheer nature of low latency and highly flexible services that it can bring. The verticals which would really look at these kind of services would primarily be connected manufacturing, automobiles, mining, energy and utilities, education, retail and BFSI.

The telcos could perhaps address these complexities as they form these partnerships. Broadly, three or four technical aspects and a couple of software aspects need attention.

On the technical side, as network slicing and multi-access edge computing would be the foundation for these new services, automation would be very critical from a three-poled aspect:

a) The dynamic slice would require to be provisioned, policies to be tweaked for a particular industry vertical, or even for a particular customer;

b) It will give the flexibility for a telco to adopt the hyperscale of model of policy, that if you can measure it, you can bill it; so it helps add more monetary value to it; and

c) You can customize KPIs with automation, and offer them to the end customers, which is what the customers are really looking at, the flexible SLAs that you can offer per industry or per customer.

The second area is the new radio, that telcos are still looking at, from a business case and economic value addition standpoint. It gives the flexibility to steer traffic and uses AIML capabilities on new innovative radio functions, enhancing the quality of experience.

The third area is the multi-access edge computing, that becomes very relevant, as mentioned by Vi, where they have already virtualized 90 locations. Most telcos, globally and especially in India are leveraging the real estate, on which they have to build these edge and aggregation clouds. These edge clouds could be used as launch pads for the vertical industry partners.

The fourth and the most important technical aspect is the need to build security around physical aspects for the next sites, and also to protect data integrity.

On the software aspect, the need to cloud talent is very critical. The second aspect is around creating valuable partnerships, whether it comes with SI partners, vertical industry partners, getting the revenue models right, the go-to-market strategy right, dividing the costs equally, and also around who holds the intellectual property.

These are the complexities, that need to be resolved so that 5G may be efficiently used to cater to completely different aspect of customers, the enterprise and add more value to them and thereby also create more value for the telcos. Moving away from what consumer services could give, which we all know, is a challenge, both from a revenue and a profitability standpoint.”

David Stokes
Digital transformation is already happening for the consumer, for instance in e-health, and e-commerce. The demand from the networks and from the operators is going to change very fast. How do you think networks of the future will cater to this change?

“COVID has had a massive impact on the demand for e-health and e-education, and remote education is occurring across the globe and particularly in India.

The first issue that needs to be challenged is basic connectivity and fixed wireless access gives a rapid and cost-proficient vehicle to help enable that connectivity. But people who have experienced either the remote contributions in health or education, realize that best effort connectivity really isn’t good enough, a bit more determinism is needed in the connectivity. A network that is not just best effort like the public internet of today, but can also guarantee certain performance characteristics, and delay is needed.

In both education and remote teleconsultation, a lot of emphasis on reliability and security of the network is imperative. Now if you fold in the enterprise, you see an absolute key need to have a toolkit of resources that allow to build one network but slice it in a way that meets your service needs, that is realistically the only way to build this network efficiently. You can’t build a separate network for everyone, so for me the new network is going to have a toolkit of capabilities to slice the network and we move from best effort connectivity to deterministic connectivity.”

Randeep Sekhon
On the significant role of AI and ML in the present and future

While rolling out a new site, based on existing data, AI techniques suggest detailed layout of the network. With machine learning, a zero-touch rollout of networks is possible. And this will mature further by the time we come to 5G. A machine learned model enables CapEx optimisation. With these technologies available, predictive network maintenance enhances customer experience. The adoption of automation and AI are vital, it is no longer a choice, it is a must have.

In fact, much of the software for the OEMs is being written in India. If the automation use cases are brought to India, it is one big contribution that India will make. In the OpenRAN atmosphere, the use cases or the IPR of the use cases are coming from Indian engineers, this is another value, we are  creating for the automated networks. This is the only way to go.”

Vishant Vora
On organization structure and changes as networks evolve

“I think the future is more about Augmented Intelligence, than Artificial Intelligence now. And there is an important distinction, because while we will be doing a lot of AI, there will always be human beings behind these technologies.

Machine learning and AI, both are absolutely critical and essential to run a very large scale cloud, especially if it’s universal cloud. And these capabilities, will not happen overnight. It is a journey for the next two or three years while we develop a lot of AI and ML capabilities. As our industry becomes the base of the digital economy of this country, CI/CD (continuous implementation continuous deployment) will have to become the norm.”

Shyam Mardikar
On 4G and 5G use cases which can help create value for our companies

“As we moved from 3G to 4G, and now to 5G, the service suite is moving into three fundamental contributors.

First is the connectivity, which anyway is the underlying part of any telco business.  Moving on from connectivity, collaboration and productivity are panning out very clearly. Collaboration is when multiple set of people and industries come together, either directly or indirectly, and do their job in a much more efficient manner. And productivity may be segmented as assisted productivity and enhanced productivity. Assisted productivity is where the entire toolset or the entire service suite makes life easier, for instance a surgeon uses the digital value chain to understand, use, process data faster, comes to decision points faster, and gets his reach extended across geographies. Enhanced productivity is when the tools do the job, with no manual intervention, for instance drones, security, cameras, and sensors moving all across the length and breadth of the country. And that is what the Industry 4.0 revolution is about, the torchbearers being education and healthcare.

And the hyperscale concept comes into play here, wherein multiple petabytes of real time data is processed at an individual granular level. Our affinity as a country to hyperscale is not new. Our ability to understand and use this for our go-forward decision making process, productivity enhancement, and techniques is also not new. But what will be new is the way each of these services suites will be sliced. One of the biggest use cases will be enhancing agriculture, right from weather forecasting, to the right set of crops, to the right set of contribution from sources to sinks, and from retail to outlets.

The other big use case is the classic digitization of the industry, where a 5G network is dedicated for an entire industry or for the factory itself. And that could happen for our automobile industries, manufacturing companies, and agrobusiness cases. Moving from one size fits all to what they need, how they need it, when and where they need it. And that is possible, when we are able to amalgamate all the capabilities-the access network dedicated and sliced for the customer, and the connectivity network, which is evolving, aware, and real-time. And then finally, the overall orchestration of the services on a big data system, which is already being done, but now gets seamlessly extended toward an end-to-end 5G ecosystem.”

David Stokes
On what automation means to you

“For me, the ease of automation and rapid assurance is all about breaking down the digital divide, making sure that everybody has access to this technology, and then providing advanced connectivity to enable cities, regions, the whole of India.

To achieve this, relies on the ability to provide cost-efficient, rapid connectivity to the right places within the country. Automation is fundamental to allow this to happen with all the complexity in the network of dynamic mobile type connectivity with best SDNs and NFVs, flexibly mixing DNS and VNS, instantiating them, wherever and whenever required. To make this cost-efficient and to give connectivity where it’s required, can only be achieved with automation.

In addition,  analytics is also key to this, as the first part of the AI journey. You need the right analytics to monitor the performance of the network and the services running on it and then to dynamically adjust the network to keep the services being delivered at the optimal level. And if there is network degradation or outages, you can react proactively in advance, as Randeep mentioned earlier.

For me, with the right level of rapid service creation and newly dynamic services across that network, making sure that the networks are up and running all the time, and with the right level of optimization. So that you don’t need to over-position the network. You can cost-efficiently deliver services across the entire country.

Automation enables the instrumentation that’s delivered in the programmable infrastructure. And that is required for 5G to fully empower a country to move forward.”

Vikram S. Anand
On what role SDN and NFV will play in this journey

“SDN and NFV have been the key pillars of telco network transformation, right from the beginning of 4G. SDN is the key foundation to make networks more programmable and allow the environment to have white box routers.

Ditto for NFV. It allows to virtualize more network functions, pulling them out of fixed, proprietary hardware, and moving onto hot servers. With the modernization of powerful processors, storage and switching fabrics, you can move more network functions now to VNFs and going forward, to even cloud native applications. The only thing is, that telcos are building VNFs or NFV clouds, that are more vertically stacked, rather than having a horizontal cloud, where they could build in the IT functions, alongwith the network core functions.

But with the advent of edge and moving more network functions to the edge, they will be building the MANO alongwith the automation, which we’ve all been talking about this morning. And that will give the efficiencies of scale, the value NFV and SDN could really bring. And that is why NFV and SDN, according to me, will continue to be key pillars of the telco transformation.”

Sandeep Dhingra
On the three things that we need to do in the networks of the future, in order to transform this journey.

“A lot of topics have been covered today, architecture, applications, AI et al. But, I would say that physical infrastructure innovation is important and critical. And part of this is infrastructure sharing. A lot has been done in terms of fibre sharing, and spectrum sharing. In India, many models are available from US, Brazil etc.

Especially in the case of 5G, when you look at the small cells and the 5G-IoT macro layer, a McKinsey study says that infrastructure sharing can save the operators upto 40 percent of TCO. This makes it important and critical.

Another point is, build it once and build it right.

To sum up, there are four things that come to my mind. Infrastructure, the architecture alongwith with the applications, the operating model, and the business model. All four need to be viewed holistically together. And again SIs, like us play a significant role, not only at the physical layer and the virtual layer, but all the way up to the cloud native layer, to stitch the VNFs and CNFs together in a cloudified way, to give real value and customer experience from a services perspective.

All these four factors will continue to play a critical role.”

As we embark on the 5G journey, what is the biggest thing that 5G will bring to either your company or the consumer?

Vishant Vora
“5G as a technology brings better latencies, thereby creating many more real-time applications as a possibility. There is an additional thing that 5G brings, its ability to handle billions of devices.  That is going to be important, as India gets into IoT deployment across a suite of industries.

Another important benefit that will come with 5G is the spectrum. There are lessons to be learned from Japan and China, who have looked at spectrum as a base layer for the digital economy of the future, and do not want to suck money out of the industry upfront. What we too want to do is, have the industry, able to use this spectrum, to create a very strong, robust network and capabilities on which all the other industries will build value. It is worth considering making spectrum free for this country.”

Randeep Sekhon
“I will take a slight different pitch on this. First of all, for India, as COVID triggered an acceptance of a new situation where we all went virtual, 5G too will trigger India into thinking faster and realising the Digital India dream, and unleash the power of digitization, not just across the telcos but all domains of industry.

Industries across the board will get impetus because of this new technology, which will transform the way they run their business, bring efficiencies and new possibilities.  Coupled with this, the telcos who are used to revenue from connectivity as the largest part of their revenue, will also see possibilities of other new revenue streams, where they can be an embedded partner to the industries in realising the Industry 4.0 dream.

I think these two things will happen as 5G starts gathering momentum, it may start with the POC networks and subsequently extend to the real commercial. 5G will definitely trigger a faster momentum for India.”

Shyam Mardikar
“Capacity and capability are what come to mind immediately. Capacity from spectrum and from the perspective of type of services possible; and capability from the ability to design specific services.

But more importantly, going forward, the way the world is going digital, it would be one of the underlying threats across the life of human beings, of machines, of industries and of entrepreneurs, wherein it would be unimaginable to survive and work and enhance without a digital platform. And this digital platform will be provided by 5G in total as the connectivity, capability, and service partnership.”

Amit Marwah
“On that note, we all look forward to the Digital India dream being realised with 5G as a technology; and India playing a much bigger role in the world, in not only network affordability, but giving the world the software, ideas, the future, and automation.”

CT Bureau

(Readers, India Mobile Congress 2020 is being held virtually from December 8-10, 2020. You may want to participate. IMC promises you the best experience possible!)

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