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Ericsson India MD predicts significant 5G use cases in India within 12-24 months

Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson will look at exporting telecom gears from India in future, a senior company official said on Wednesday. Ericsson, Head of Network Solutions Strategic Network Evolution Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India, Ng Thiaw Seng said that, at present, the entire production of its India plant is getting consumed locally due to very high demand.

”All 5G equipment that are currently produced in India are being used by Indian telcos. We will consider exporting 5G equipment from India in the future,” Seng said.

India has been credited with the fastest deployment of 5G networks.

However, telecom operators are yet to find any use case to monetise 5G investments.

Ericsson India Managing Director Nitin Bansal, at a company’s event to showcase 5G technology, said the company is actively engaging with academia, partners, and ecosystem players to develop relevant India-specific use cases.

”Significant use cases will emerge in India within the next 12 to 24 months, facilitated by the network slicing capability of 5G technology,” Bansal said.

India continues to be a strategic market for us and the second-largest market for Ericsson, he added.

When asked about green shoots for Ericsson in India after investment in the 5G network rollout is tapering down, Bansal said the demand for 5G will push demand for densification of networks.

”While the 5G rollouts have stabilised in the country, given the rapid rollout and expansion of last year, we do, however, expect 5G adoption in India to grow, given the strong data demand in the country and the digitalisation initiatives by enterprises.

”This will involve the densification and modernisation of telecom infrastructure, along with enhancements to OSS/BSS systems to accommodate evolving network and billing needs,” he said.

Ericsson reported a decline in India business in the March quarter after a record 2023, as the market started transitioning to more normal investment levels.

Its sales in Southeast Asia, Oceania and India declined by 38 per cent to 8.5 billion Swedish Krona (SEK), about Rs 6,645 crore, in the March 2024 quarter from 13.9 billion (SEK), about Rs 10,730 crore, a year ago.

The recent Rs 18,000 crore fund raised by debt-ridden Vodafone Idea (VIL) and guidance by the company to invest up to Rs 55,000 crore is likely to enthuse network gear vendors, but Ericsson refused to comment on the telco’s plan.

VIL has announced that it will focus on expanding 4G network coverage and 5G in major cities.

When asked about the potential of 4G, given the advent of 5G in India, Bansal cited the Ericsson Mobility Report, which states that 4G continues to be the dominant subscription type driving connectivity and fuelling data growth in the region.

However, as subscribers migrate to 5G, 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline from 870 million in 2023 to 390 million by 2029, as per the report. PTI

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