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5G Perspective

Preparing for next generation of telecom

India is gearing up for 5G technology, which is the next generation of cellular communications technology with revolutionary services that can have a profound impact on India.

A consensus exists amongst the telecom experts that 5G will supplement the 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks currently deployed in India and will add a new lease of life to revolutionize the ecosystem and services. 5G services go well beyond those of prior generation mobile networks, all of which only delivered services on personal phone platforms. 5G will additionally also connect myriad of new devices including machines, sensors, actuators, vehicles, robots and drones, to support a much more extensive range of applications and services.

India, in particular, can benefit significantly from 5G as it will enable the country to leapfrog the traditional barriers to development. 5G will also advance the reach and utility of the Digital India and allied missions.

5G-A new lease of life for telecom industry
There was a quantum jump witnessed across the sectors, when India adopted 4G in a big way with data revolution and democratization. And the country really understood the importance of it during the pandemic when economy ran digitally. Now, 5G is set to revolutionize our future.

Both within and outside the government, discussions about 5G and its various implications and the opportunities indicate a huge positive for citizens and the economy. Globally and in India, those in the ICT industry are  extensively collaborating with each other and with the government to create a solid platform for 5G and other emerging technologies such as IoT, M2M, AI, AR, and AI. The key drivers for 5G rollout and adoption are going to result in a massive increase in data consumption. Further, digitalized services, growth of smart cities and all- encompassing network architecture can utilize all available spectrum bands rather than replace the existing networks.

It is also estimated to bring in financial benefits to the sector. Different reports available across the worldwide web suggest that 5G-enabled digitization revenues in India will be around USD 26 billion by 2026, less than  a decade from now. The domestic operations can earn an additional USD 13 billion revenue if they go beyond their traditional roles and serve as service enablers. The cumulative economic impact of 5G on India can reach USD one trillion by 2035.

5G-A game changer across industries
Imagine, the benefits for startups where sensors could give millions of data points and consequent insights, enabling the management of risk and creating new business models.

Health benefits like sensors can be implanted in a person’s heart. Many applications for people with Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, cerebral palsy can be developed around 5G and allied technologies.

The automotive sector is already working on systems, using the IoT and 5G, that will make your car detect a malfunction in the gear-box. The on-board telematics- enabled predictive diagnostics system will be able to identify service-centres that have the parts and tools required to adjust your car’s make and model. In the defense environment this technology can be a game changer. It can effectively empower and make nework- centric environment a reality and be a force multiplier amongst many other strategic applications.

The above illustration is no science fiction, but a reality now. In India, 5G can revolutionise various sectors and most importantly in effective and transparent execution of social sector schemes for poor and underprivileged communities.

What we need to do right
India should look at use case studies under trial across the world to meet the requirements of services specific to India. Currently, commercial 5G services are not yet available as per the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards. The three priorities for India in 5G should be:

  • Deployment–Rolling out early, efficient and pervasive 5G networks to maximise the value offered by this new technology
  • Technology–Building India’s industrial and R&D capacity in the design and IP dimensions of 5G
  • Manufacturing–Expanding the manufacturing base in 5G for both semiconductor fabrication as well as assembly & test

India would need a huge investment to deploy infrastructure for 5G over the next 5 to 7 years, so all stakeholders need to address industry challenges and organically address policy frameworks, identify use cases and bring in a 360 degree participation by all stakeholders. 5G requires a converged approach as never before. The future is exciting but the path is challenging.