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What Is 5G, And How Prepared Is India To Adopt This Technology?

The Indian Telecom industry has understood the benefits the 5G would bring about and we can expect some limited 5G rollouts to start towards the end of 2021 or early 2022.

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The world is continuously developing, and in a world of rapid growth and increasing complexity, a person can only stand if they cope with the developing technologies. In 2021 nothing is impossible, and growing at a rocket speed, from education to service to technology, everything is evolving in a mature form. Like everything, the mobile network is also rapidly changing. According to a study done by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and McKinsey & Co, India’s digital economy has the potential to reach USD 1 trillion by the year 2025 driven by the increased proliferation of smartphones, increased internet penetration, growth of mobile broadband, growth of data and social media. 

While there have been technological advancements from the second generation through to the fourth generation in telecom, none of the previous developments expanded the service dimension beyond the traditional revenue streams in the sector. 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks. The fifth generation of wireless technology gives us more than just the fastest network. While 4G was a clear upgrade in technology from 3G, 5G enables a new network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything including machines, objects, and IoT devices. It will help completely redefine the network, establishing a truly global wireless standard for speed, throughput, and bandwidth. 5G network build a path to the future.

5G is expected to add to those service dimensions through improved network performance characteristics as well as enabling technologies such as IoT, AI, robotics etc. It is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, increased availability, more reliability, and a more uniform user experience. 

The fundamental appeal of 5G lies in the fact that the entire infrastructure will act as a cohesive platform for innovative applications and is tuned to flex with demand – providing services tailored to their unique characteristics. 

5G technology is important for consumers, as well as businesses as we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explore all that 5G, has to offer, 5G network characteristics of increased reliability, lower latency, higher throughput, increased connection density would enable massive commercial deployments of technologies like IoT, AI, AR/ VR facilitating use cases across various industries like automotive, media and entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and agriculture amongst others. Further, from a societal standpoint, 5G use cases for initiatives like smart cities have the potential to improve the lives of citizens through significant improvement in services like public safety, utilities, transport to name a few.

In India, all industry stakeholders are actively involved in the endeavour to commercially launch 5G through R&D investments, technology trials for deployment and study of use cases. The telecom regulatory authority and DOT is simultaneously working on the spectrum plan for 5G focused on global standardization, aligning the spectrum plan with global spectrum allocations for 5G and spectrum harmonization to facilitate this endeavour. 

The smartphone market is undergoing an enormous transition, which is likely to grow. With high-speed data connection on 4G networks, the promise of more entertainment and the continuing world around will be close to everyone. Countries that want to remain competitive in global wealth are adopting 5G technology. Because technology affects nearly all aspects of life, countries need to stay apprise with technological evolution to improve the lives of their people and continue evolving in the global economy.

Service operators have been making the announcement around 5G trials. The Indian Telecom industry has understood the benefits the 5G would bring about and we can expect some limited 5G rollouts to start towards the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Challenges like choosing the right partner, enabling the ecosystem, making the business viable/profitable will be a challenge for India CSPs and DSPs.

Given the long-term benefits that 5G will bring to India needs to be viewed as critical infrastructure and the foundation on which we can realize the Digital India vision.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sanjay Bakaya

The author is a Country Head- India & Regional Vice President- India & South Asia at Mavenir.

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