The government has asked the telecom operators—Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to prioritize 5G connectivity at locations where meetings for G20 will be held among government officials, civil societies, and delegates from different countries throughout the year, sources in the know said.
The guidance from the government is crucial given that India for the first time took over the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, and a good connectivity experience for delegates will be one of the important factors on the government’s agenda.
The Group of 20 (G20) comprises 19 countries and the European Union deliberates over international economic issues and facilitates economic cooperation between the countries. The theme of India’s G20 Presidency is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future” and the focus of the forum this year will be on green development, climate finance, technology transformation, digital public infrastructure, accelerated growth, sustainable development, among others.
“A meeting was held last month between DoT (Department of Telecommunications) and the telcos, where the operators were asked to prioritise 5G in areas and provide good internet connectivity where G20 meetings will be held, and around specific hotels where the delegates will stay,” a source said, adding that the government has given a list of selected venues like in Itanagar, Andaman, and Nicobar, etc. to the companies.
Before the final G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9-10, India will host over 200 meetings in over 50 cities across 32 different workstreams.
Currently, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are the only operators which have started rolling out 5G across the country. As per the industry estimates, the companies have installed around 36,000 5G base stations across 25 states/union territories, with priority on states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.
“With G20 presidency, the whole world will be looking at us. It is the time to show the world about the developments the country has done in the telecom sector and connectivity is a key parameter for that,” a government official said, on the condition of anonymity.
Recently, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) also held a meeting with the telecom companies to discuss about the quality of service issues. In the meeting, DoT asked the operators to raise their benchmark and improve the quality of telecom services with regard to call drops and data connectivity across the country.
In September last year, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to increase the quality of services parameters by 3-4 times. “Whatever the quality of service we are seeing today, it should improve significantly,” Vaishnaw had said. Indian Express