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India needs 5G more than anything: Qualcomm India

To address consumer needs driven by the pandemic, India needs to expedite the process of 5G adoption, according to Rajen Vagadia, V-P and President, Qualcomm India & SAARC.

“This country needs 5G more than anything,” said Vagadia in a video interaction with journalists from BusinessLine in Mumbai.

The increased data consumption and the need for faster data speeds, especially during the pandemic, when people across the country are mandated to work and learn from home, make 5G adoption important, he emphasised.

“There is a huge gap. And as we operate more smart TVs, our children are taking video classes from home, more of this consumption (of data) comes from homes. We will have to figure out how to provide these services and 5G can help in that,” he said.

He added that 5G can help telecom operators offer last-mile connectivity where a fibre network is not available. It also can help reduce the cost of delivery.

“One thing which we should all realise is that 5G helps reduce the cost of delivery…even when it launches millimetre wave technology. This is going to help them reduce (the cost) a lot and it helps them at the bottom line with time,” he said.

What will drive 5G adoption

One being asked if Indian consumers would be willing to pay for the technology, Vagadia said: “We’re all consumers — are you ready to pay a little bit more for better quality? All of us will have that sense, and we will do it.”

He further said 5G in India would be relatively more affordable. Citing the example of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology, he said it was not charged at a differential pricing in India, unlike other countries.

Operators are also showing a positive sentiment towards the launch of 5G despite multiple financial setbacks, he noted. Hence, it is the consumer demand and the operators’ optimism that will drive the 5G push in India, he added.

“I think it’s inherently the feeling of positive, with the operators themselves bringing themselves to do this (5G adoption). Of course, a need from the consumer side is going to drive it. You’re not going to wait for (customers) to say — ‘Don’t deliver HD content on OTT on my phone’. Consumers want HD content. So I think operators have every motivation to do it.”

Overseas tie-ups

Furthermore, Indian companies can partner with companies abroad to localise 5G technology, according to the senior executive. “Chinese companies have inherently become a part of our ecosystem. The PLI (production linked incentive) scheme is one very good opportunity for Indian companies to come together with Chinese companies to localise,” Vagadia said in response to a question on how the outsourcing of 5G technologies to Chinese companies may impact India’s overall telecom system.

The tariffs, he said, will be dependent on the pricing of the spectrum the government has to offer. “I think it’s the right pricing of the spectrum which the government will have to offer,” he added.

—The Hindu Business Line

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