India has taken a mega leap in mobile telephony with the launch of the 5G network as Bharti Airtel became the first operator to introduce the fifth generation mobile network services in the country. Bharti Airtel has launched 5G services in eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Varanasi. The company has plans to roll out pan-India services by March 2024.
Reliance Jio plans to launch its 5G services by Diwali in four metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. The company has plans to launch 5G services with ultra-affordable tariff pricing and a range of 5G-support devices and services across the country over the next 18 months. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & MD, RIL, said that despite India starting late with 5G, it would be the first to finish the pan-India coverage of 5G services. Vodafone Idea has not yet given any definite timeline for the 5G launch.
While India may not have been the first to launch 5G services, experts believe that India poses a great opportunity to scale up the 5G use cases once the technology is introduced. According to the Ministry of Communications, the launch of 5G services follows years of intense preparation. Recently, 5G spectrum auctions were conducted successfully and 51,236 MHz was allocated to Telecom Service Providers with gross revenue of ₹1,50,173 crore.
As per recent reports, 5G will account for more than a third of total connections in India by 2030, with the share of 2G and 3G dwindling to less than 10 percent.
Here are the comments from various industry players:
“5G will usher in a new wave of opportunities for businesses, unlocking the next level of growth for the country. More than just seamless connectivity and fast speed, 5G technology is going to revolutionize businesses and industries, enhancing advancements, and innovation & R&D while also improving customer experiences. 5G will be a key driver for Digital India initiatives and realizing Design in India opportunities leveraging disruptive technologies like AI, cloud, IoT, and others across the ecosystem. We foresee India becoming a major hub for cutting-edge semiconductor R&D and design and the rollout of 5G services will accelerate the next wave of digital transformation,” underlined Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India.
“The launch of 5G services marks a very significant inflection point in the Digital India journey. 5G ushers in not just world-class telecom infrastructure but also the possibilities for revolutionizing several industries that can take advantage of low-latency, high-bandwidth, and network slicing capabilities, among others,” said Ramesh Natarajan, CEO, Redington. “With the combination of 5G technology and the strong ecosystem of start-ups and research institutions in India, this roll-out promises to bring to fruition use cases that have not yet been imagined.”
“5G will be a game-changer for tech transformation in India — We are increasingly seeing players in the technology industry and business community invest in building edge-computing environments to support AI-driven IoT. The advances it will bring — everything from self-driving cars and smart cities, to connected healthcare and industrial IoT, will truly revolutionize every sector and open new avenues for businesses across regions. 5G, with its machine-to-machine connectivity, will lead to an exponential increase in data. How enterprises leverage this data is what will define their future success,” explained Puneet Gupta, Managing Director & VP India/Saarc, NetApp.
“Apart from catering to the customers, the 5G technology will add an intrinsic value to the enterprise segment in the country. The global market for 5G-enabled business applications is expected to grow to $20 billion over the next five years and India will be a critical contributor to this expansion. 5G will not only improve connectivity across the country but also reinvent the customer experience for telecom consumers apart from the traditional calling and internet services,” stated Manoranjan (Mao) Mohapatra, CEO, Comviva.
“5G ecosystem will unlock immense opportunities for industries across sectors, allowing them to experiment with myriad ideas to innovate and fuel the next level of growth possibilities. 5G is not just a generational leap in network technology, it is a platform for innovation. 5G is like the last piece of the Industry 4.0 jigsaw puzzle that will spearhead the next wave of digital disruption, taking us a step closer to realizing our dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat and technological supremacy,” shared Manish Vyas, President, Communications, Media and Entertainment Business, and CEO, Network Services, Tech Mahindra.
“By equipping us with high-speed internet, low latency, and massive capacity, 5G will enable us to derive maximum benefits out of today’s highly distributed world of cloud, edge devices, and artificial intelligence. I think it would be interesting to witness 5G disrupting our lives further and leading to the creation of new industries, products, and business models. While 4G unlocked the app economy, 5G is poised to unleash the true potential of a digital and connected India that we live in today,” said Kunal Nagarkatti, CEO, Clover Infotech.
Sanjay Malik, Sr. Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia, highlighted, “Nokia is committed to and fully prepared to support our partners in ushering in the 5G era in India. Our global experience in 5G rollouts shows that it will provide a strong impetus to socioeconomic growth and industrial development, contributing to the GDP and mission of Digital Bharat.”
Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India said, “As we enter this new dawn of technological disruption, the advent of 5G will not only revolutionize the Indian telecom industry but will have a huge social, economic, and global impact. In all this, GIS technology and geospatial infrastructure will play a pivotal role in helping Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in designing and managing their networks, assets, and operations in an integrated way, and be agile enough to grow as their business requirements change, while ensuring next-generation customer experience. Together, 5G and GIS will play a transformational role in the success of Digital India.”
“Numerous opportunities will arise for the skilled workforce in India as the demand for 5G services rises. In FY2021–2022, an estimated 36,000+ competent workers were needed in India for 5G and allied technologies. Due to the increased use of internet services and apps, the demand for better telecom networks, and currently the implementation of the 5G networks, this gap will only widen. In order to meet this demand, TSSC has already developed courses in 5G and related technologies and created multiple Centers of Excellence and training centers across the country,” shared Arvind Bali, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council.