The 5G technology has been conceived as a foundation for expanding the potential of the Networked Society. A digital transformation brought about through the power of connectivity is taking place in almost every industry. The landscape is expanding to include massive scale of “smart things” to be interconnected. Therefore, the manner in which future networks will cope with massively varied demands and a business landscape will be significantly different from today.
The economic benefits from the 5G technology are also quite immense. As per the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Committee on Digital Economic Policy, it has been stated that 5G technologies rollout will help in Increasing GDP, Creating Employment, Digitizing the economy. For India, 5G provides an opportunity for industry to reach out to global markets, and consumers to gain with the economies of scale. Worldwide countries have launched similar Forums and thus, India has joined the race in 5G technologies. We are open for collaboration with them.
Fifth-generation or 5G technology roll out is poised to radically transform the telecom sector in India, offering an array of capabilities. India would play an important role in developing global 5G technology standards, with the newer technology poised to become a robust part of the ambitious Digital India initiative.
“As 5G standards process has started globally, India would be one of the important players in formulating standards for it,” Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, told, adding that earlier in 3G and 4G, India had missed the bus in giving inputs for relevant standards.
Sharma is also a co-chairman of the high-level 5G Forum constituted by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in September 2017 to evaluate and prepare a roadmap to adopt the newer technology in tandem with the global timeline of 2020, and position India as a globally synchronized participant in the design, development of 5G-based technology applications. The government-led panel also includes representatives from private players: Gopal Vittal, chief executive, India & South Asia at Bharti Airtel, and Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director of Reliance Jio Infocomm.
TSDSI, or Telecom Standards Development Society, India, as one of the members of 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project), is representing India in discussions worldwide on 5G standards. As part of 3GPP, first specifications for 5G technology has been recently released with support from companies such as AT&T, BT, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Verizon and Huawei.
The Indian government is eyeing 5G technology to boost the initiative — Digital India — launched in 2014 at an initial outlay of Rs 1.13 lakh crore with the aim to digitally facilitate 1.3 billion Indians through a bouquet of citizen-centric services. “Digital India is all about empowering people and enabling industries bringing relevant skillset for India. 5G, leading to better connectivity, would be a strong part when comes to Digital India,” Sharma said.
The official believes that unprecedented opportunities drive applications in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, healthcare and manufacturing. “This (5G) will propel industry 4.0 where we need machines to communicate between each other with integrated communications,” he said. “5G is being also thought because of the need for inexpensive, fast and reliable communications not only between humans but also between humans to machines and vice-versa,” the official explained.
Telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had in August 2017 initiated a consultation process for the spectrum sale that would also include frequencies in the 3300-3400 MHz and 3400-3600 MHz bands for the 5G rollout.
Telcos join hands to bring 5G in India
Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia is collaborating with telcos including Bharti Airtel and state-run BSNL to prepare a roadmap for the development of 5G network in the country, besides working on how to build a conducive ecosystem for the same. The company, which has got a 5G IoT (internet of things) lab in Bangalore, will jointly conduct 5G demonstrations and develop relevant and unique use cases around the technology.
“We have signed several memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with Bharti to collaborate on a strategic roadmap for network evolution to 5G technology standards and the management of connected devices. With BSNL, we have partnered to develop a 5G ecosystem in the country and will jointly conduct 5G demonstrations and develop relevant and unique use cases to provide ultra-high-speed and ultra low-latency network to its subscribers,” Sanjay Malik, Head of India, Nokia told. Nokia’s 5G IoT lab in Bangalore demonstrates how it is making IoT a reality for smart cities and public safety, besides showcasing how the framework can be used to manage the connectivity of things.
The government is also laying much focus on 5G and is working on to create a Rs 500-crore fund for the development of the technology. A high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Telecom Secretary has also been created to work on a roadmap for the proposed roll-out of 5G by 2020. India is looking at 5G as a major opportunity in terms of offering the kind of services that rural India needs, including tele-health and tele-eduction services. along with bandwidth-heavy applications that can drive development and 5G is expected to play a big role in that.
Nokia feels that 5G will not happen overnight and it will be an evolutionary path through 4.5G and 4.9G. As per the company, the potential 5G use cases in India fall under virtual reality, augmented reality and gaming. Secondly, the use cases will be around massive connectivity thrust towards smart lighting, smart parking and IoT smart cities. 5G will support new massive broadband applications by combining network speeds above 10 Gbps with extremely low latency. It is likely to stimulate growth in many sectors, including the Information Technology (IT), automotive, entertainment, agriculture, and manufacturing industries. As per Nokia, as 5G emerges, more safety and business-critical applications will run on the wireless network.