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IMC 2023: Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel showcase their might

The two most premium slots at the Indian Mobile Congress 2023, which started in New Delhi on Friday, went to Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, quite in sync with the two biggest telcos’ subscriber numbers. The first two bays occupied by Jio and Airtel were almost equal in size, but with varying tone and tenor. The audio visual on Jio’s futuristic offerings rang the loudest in the exhibition hall. It was hard to miss the tagline — India’s 5G leader is here. Largest, widest, fastest—at Jio’s mega stall, which showcased “drum talks’’ every 30 minutes with expert sessions on digital transfo­rmation. Airtel’s stall was quieter, while drawing footfall similar to Jio’s. For Airtel, the big theme was more pronounced —hardselling 5G use cases — from wearable devices to robotics. And, “reimagining’’ was one word that dominated across the Airtel floor. Vodafone Idea, on the other side of the Jio enclosure, put up a brave front with its statement —Innovations for a better life. And the state-owned BSNL enclosure, away from the Jio and Airtel stalls, posted its “5G ready’’ status.

Chandrayaan effect
For the first time perhaps, a telecom summit of this dimension had ‘space’ written all over it. The Indian Space Research Organisation counter, on the front row, gave good compe­tition to the big daddies of the telecom industry. Selfies with the Chandrayaan and other rocket models made it look like a tourist spot unlike a typical tech exhibition. The booths and kiosks related to satellite telecommu­nications added to the overall space story. Then there were entities such as TakeMe2Space with its digital time capsule service, asserting that space is for everyone, anyone with a smartphone. It claims to be building space infrastructure for the world, from India.

Non-core entries
Guess what? Incredible India — a tourism mantra — was at the forefront of this exhibition hall. The counter hardsold many communi­cation-related concepts that have made India stand out. So was the power ministry stall, something that one wouldn’t associate with telecom per se. Jal Shakti was another odd entry, but the executive manning the cubicle explained how they were related. The National Institute of Hydrology and Central Water and Power Research Station, both under water resources ministry, are engaged in R&D work to bring the two worlds — water and telecom technologies —closer. Then there were others showcasing what is seen as the flavour of the season — drones and AI.

It’s not just Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who walked around the exhibition Friday morning along with the top representatives of the leading telcos, making a 6G point in the time of 5G. There were several firms around talking about 6G opportunities and research around it. Thinking ahead, perhaps. Business Standard

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