Where is India in the race of 5G?

The adoption of 5G is slowly gathering pace globally, according to Viavi solutions; a California based company network testing company, 5G is partially available in 34 countries and 348 cities. It is said that the purpose of this network is to accelerate developments in all cities like connected cars, Industry 4.0, virtual reality, and much more. So basically this network is here to ease our daily lives more.

Any country that dominates this technology is said to have a huge leap in economic and political influences. Till this year January, India was open to Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE to access this network but with the border tensions between the two nations in June, the government of India decided to take a strong decision against all the Chinese companies including technology-based.

Around the same time, prime minister Narendra Modi promoted a “self-reliant” idea. So Indian based companies like Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Bharati Airtel are three major telecom company in India.

However, two main issues hinder the faster development of 5G in India :
Firstly, the TRAI has set the price for spectrum in the 3400-3800 MHz band at US$ 70 million. Since Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, who are already burdened by debt, perceive that such high prices will make it difficult for them to participate in the auction. Reliance too has contended that its capacity will be limited. While the industry has been requesting TRAI to reconsider its prices, the regulator has been defending it.

The second major issue is the overall development of India’s internet infrastructure. The launch of the Digital India initiative has significantly enhanced government efforts to improve IT infrastructure in the country. E-governance initiatives have been extending public services to the last mile, taking advantage of the fast-growing mobile penetration rates among the youth a young population. Moreover, the government has been actively partnering with private players to achieve quality and scale of services. But, despite growing efforts, experts observe that there are still gaps that need to be addressed to make emerging technologies accessible and affordable to every citizen.

In conclusion, the Director-General of COAI, Rajan Mathews, has observed that high prices and limited availability of the radio spectrum will delay the 5G rollout in India for another 5 years. And even if there is a chance for the network to be launched by mid-2021, telecom companies need to be able to afford the spectrum and perform several tests before being able to launch 5G commercially. According to experts, India will be completely ready for the 5G race by 2022.

Blog by: Sinchana Noolee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *