Imagine ultra-fast internet connectivity with no latency, imagine smart cars, smart industries and technologies like robotics, IoT, all powered by a handy wi-fi dongle. This is the world that 5G, the next generation of wireless communication promises to billions of people within the country. A world that enables a more uniform user experience alongside the emergence of new services, applications and experiences owing to massive bandwidth, network capacity and reliability.
By the beginning of 2021, 61 countries across the globe already had up-and-running commercial 5G networks. So where does 5G in India stand today?
5G in India first came into the conversation in 2017 when a high-level forum was set up by the government to chalk out a roadmap towards a 5G India by 2020. By 2018, several foreign players such as gear vendors and tech companies were invited to launch testbeds for 5G in India to devise a framework related to 5G Applications and Use Case Labs to initiate the progress for the new technology in the country.
As talks continued within the government to make this new development a reality for the Indian telecom industry, there was increased emphasis on encouraging homegrown telecom equipment manufacturers to participate in the 5G trials in India.
This debate in the 5G India telecom circle about the reliability of foreign telecom equipment has thus been a significant factor that led to the delay of 5G in India, pushing its launch by a year, to be expected on 15th August 2022, marking 75 years of independence of the nation.
The benefits of a 5G India
In the last 10 years, the mobile app industry has grown in leaps and bounds due to 4G network, leading to a rise in services like video streaming, ridesharing, food delivery etc.
Next, 5G is expected to expand the mobile ecosystem to newer sectors. Further, 5G is also set to accelerate the aim of several local projects like ‘Make in India’ and ‘StartUp India’ missions, with India emerging as a global player dynamically engaged in the design, development, and manufacturing of 5G based technology and products.
In terms of technological transformation, the country will see strengthening of operations like Digital India, Smart City and Smart Village. In domestics use, 5G would change home internet service by providing a wireless modem alternative to existing wires.
The global telecom industry body GSMA expects India to have 920 million unique mobile subscribers by 2025, which will include 88 million 5G connections. This rapidly rising wave of subscription base through digitization across the country will serve as the necessary infrastructure and software to adopt 5G network in India smoothly and quickly, leading to a massive sector for job creation.
Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world lived, shopped, socialised and even conducted business. People are getting highly accustomed, and now, even comfortable with online meetings, classes, doctors’ consultations and get-togethers. The world is swiftly switching onto the online mode, which increasingly requires faster data speed.
In this scenario, the demand for 5G will inevitably go up. This is because 5G has the power to transform current industries, create new ones, and influence societies with quicker speed, lesser latency, and greater capacity. It can effectively shape how the new generation thinks, connects with each other and progresses.
With a rising focus on safer transportation, traffic control, remote healthcare, agriculture, digitised logistics and more, this new technology is set to pave the foundation stone for a new India, characterised by better speed, connectivity and accessibility.
In fact, with this development, India is bound to emerge as one of the key harbingers of change as local and national companies engaged in collaboration with others, play a major role in breathing life into this next-generation wireless technology.
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