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The rollout of 5G services in India will give a major leg up to users with internet speeds likely to go up by at least four-five times of 4G levels, said experts at US-based network testing and analysis provider Ookla.

Talking to Mint, principal analyst Sylwia Kechiche said that while internet had proliferated in India, the actual speeds that the new 5G networks offer will be much higher than present 4G levels of up to 10 Mbps on mobile phones; the actual speeds will depend on the bands that carriers adopt for providing the services.

“We’ve seen in other countries like Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, that speeds have increased 7-10 times of 4G LTE levels. We can expect 4-5 times increase in India as well. It however depends on the bands for 5G," she said.

India is yet to auction spectrum for 5G services even as the government plans to hold the same within this month. The government has so far accepted the telecom regulator’s proposals to auction 5G airwaves in two bands – 3.6 Ghz and sub 1 Ghz - for base prices that are nearly 36% lower than those in 2018.

Kechiche said that while the sub-1 Ghz would provide coverage for the carriers the 3.6 Ghz band will provide capacity for telcos to launch 5G services. Therefore, a combination of the two could well provide carriers the necessary mix for offering 5G services across the country.

However, she pointed to the high pricing of 5G spectrum in India which can become a hurdle in achieving full scale deployments, noting that India prices at present levels were much higher than several other countries, noting that India prices at p.

“In India, the spectrum has been priced at $ 41 million per Mhz, which is far higher than $23 million in Italy, $10 million in France and $1 million in Portugal," 23 million in Italy, $10 million in France and $1 million in Portugal," she said.

She added that if the pricing was made more affordable, 5G could provide an opportunity for Indian carriers to improve their financial health as the services could be provided for a premium to consumers as well as enterprises.

Referring to findings from another agency GlobalData, she said that 5G tariffs in India could well double up in the long run.

According to GlobalData, 5G will overtake 4G as the most popular way to access mobile internet in the US as soon as 2024, when there will be more 5G subscribers than 4G, consuming more data than 4G subscribers. Hence, operators in the US will gain higher monthly average revenue per user or ARPU from consumers of $45.56 during 2022, with 4G LTE only generating ARPU of $26.41. The data suggested that US 5G ARPU will be more than double 4G LTE’s ARPU in 2023, and will continue outpacing 4G by increasing percentages during 2025-2026. To be sure, carriers in the US provide 5G-enabled service bundles that include entertainment-based value-added services (VAS).

In India, tariffs remain well below the 180 mark, with telcos planning to raise it in the coming quarters.

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