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India set to witness multi-billion-dollar 5G infra roll-out

India is set to witness the world’s largest roll-out of 5G infrastructure with multi-billion-dollar being spent by the country’s leading telcos over the next several years, according to Syed Shahid Hussain, Managing Partner, Financial Services Sector, Asia Pacific, at IBM Consulting.

Additionally, the government is expected to lead in developing the India stack, a network building process that would cover every segment of the economy being digitised with the latest advanced technologies, he told PTI at the Singapore Fintech Festival last week, held from November 2-4, 2022.

“This is a big play,” he said of the advanced technologies adoption in India, with IBM Consulting joining international technology groups participating in the large-scale development over several years through strategic partnerships with telcos such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Group.

“We plan to work with Indian telcos, where we have strategic partnerships like Bharti Airtel to bring secured hybrid cloud services through the 5G network to national enterprises. The agreement with Bharti Airtel is there to launch it,” said Shahid, the Singapore-based IBM executive.

“For this, both the parties will have to spend billions of dollars. Huge amount of money is being spent by the stakeholders in this ongoing process and it will take over a couple of years,” he underlined.

“We are particularly working on securing hybrid cloud services through the 5G network.” Hybrid cloud is a major shift in the evolution of enterprise IT.

The next big thing is to create India stack for different sectors of the Indian economy, he pointed out.

India stack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise a unique digital infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless and cashless service delivery.

Shahid says the government is to lead the India stack and incentivise banks and other stakeholders in the ecosystem for the benefits of consumers.

India has some 800 million mobile phone users and the number is growing, forming the base for the fast growing digital economy.

On project basis, Shahid said IBM and Bank of Baroda will expand the ‘Baroda Kisan’ app, a one-stop shop for all the needs of the agriculture and farming community. It was launched in September 2019.

Agriculture sector is a high priority area of development for the government which is committed to raising the income of farmers in the coming years.

All the banks know that the traditional banking services will be different in four to five years down the line, he pointed out.

Farmers, for example, will go to the platform which provides end-to-end services for the agriculture industry.

“We are trying to get all the stakeholders, on the three-year old Baroda Kisan platform, such as suppliers of fertilizers. With these stakeholders on board, price discovery can be better and farmers can go and buy from the best supplier,” said the IIM Ahmedabad alumni.

In the future, the farmers’ needs will be on apps and metaverse, making it easier and efficient to source services and supplies, even farm equipment.

Another successful startup partnership by IBM in India is the SBI YONO (You Only Need One) app, valued at USD 40 billion.

YONO gives SBI an enormous market advantage, combining services, products and features into one mobile app with a platform that could integrate data across third-party products and streamline the customer experience.

“These are two of the most successful startups by IBM and partners in India,” said Shahid who has spent the first 15 years of his over 20 years’ experience working in India. PTI 

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