Move over 4G, India sets eyes on 5G launch by 2020
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday set up a panel to lay down a roadmap for the rollout of 5G mobile networks in India by 2020, in a move that not only promises to make wireless connections blazingly fast but will also make room for the proliferation of Internet-connected smart devices.
5G networks, promise more speed, less latency, can serve a higher density of broadband users, and are optimised for Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to everyday objects becoming intelligent with the ability to send and receive data.
“We have created a high-level 5G committee that will work on the vision, mission and goals of 5G,” telecom minister Manoj Sinha told news agency Press Trust of India.
The government’s push to move to 5G is driven by the logic that India, one of the world’s largest markets for telecom services, should not be left behind when the world shifts to 5G. India’s adoption of 4G was delayed earlier this decade.
“When the world will roll out 5G in 2020, I believe India will be at par with them,” Sinha said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) released a consultation paper on framing regulations and standards for the roll out of 5G networks and IoT in August.
The paper sought the views of telecom operators on spectrum caps and rollout obligations for 5G spectrum besides the pricing of 4G airwaves in the coveted 700 MHz band that went unsold in the last auction, Mint reported on 29 August. The sector regulator also sought the industry’s views on the valuation methodology of spectrum in the 3,300-3,400 MHz and 3,400-3,600 MHz bands used for 5G services.
A spectrum auction will potentially generate more revenue for the government but it will also require the telecom firms to invest more.
According to Mahesh Uppal, director at telecom consulting firm ComFirst, it does not seem feasible to roll out such technologies in the foreseeable future.
“Telcos would certainly want to offer 5G services, when they are ready for deployment. However, they cannot bid for spectrum in the current financial state of the sector. As a government, you need to ensure that the public policy objective of network growth does not become a hostage to revenue generation,” Uppal said.
India’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Ltd on Tuesday said that it would deploy a so-called Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology, which is a key enabler for 5G networks.
“It is a pre-5G technology that will make the network future ready for meeting the data demand coming from digital revolution and data explosion in India,” Airtel said in a statement Tuesday, adding that this technology will expand existing network capacity by five to seven times using the existing spectrum, thereby improving efficiency.
Airtel is implementing MIMO in Bengaluru and Kolkata and would expand to other parts of the country soon, the telecom firm said.
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