5G: Hastening the Tech Revolution

5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is designed to connect people, machines, and devices and operate in a virtual environment. 5G Technology is developed to deliver peak data speeds of multiple-Gbps (Giga bits per second). It has very low latency [or, network delay – network delay is the overall amount of time that it takes for information transmission from the source to the destination in a data network]. 5G network offers more reliability with massive network capacity and increased availability. Moreover, 5G network provides a uniform rich user experience.

Why 5G?

5G is estimated to yield $13.1 trillion worth of goods and services by various types of industries across the globe by the year 2035. This impact is much greater than previous network generations like 4G and 3G. 5G networks are also rapidly expanding to industries such as the automotive industry when compared to the traditional mobile networks such as 2G, 3G and 4G. 5G Network value chain includes several stakeholders such as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Telecom operators, content creators, application developers etc. that could alone create more than 228 lac jobs.  Presently, 5G is popularly used in increased mobile broadband, mission-critical communications in defence, and the massive Internet of Things (IoT) in Industry. 5G Networks will deliver cutting-edge and creative user experiences. The experiences include new enterprise applications, boundless extreme reality (XR), seamless Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. Users can easily access local interactive content and content available from Cloud instantly from Smartphone or any other device connected to internet.  Modern factories could use 5G to run industrial Ethernet for increasing operational productivity and precision manufacturing. In the same way, Smart cities could use 5G in multiple applications to provide better amenities for the people. The 5G applications are meant primarily providing greater efficiencies like increased connectivity between people and things. Using 5G, information exchange with higher data speeds, and ultra-low latency is possible than ever before in amenities areas like vehicle safety, water supply, waste disposal management, virtual reality arcades  and interactive gaming. Many new applications are still emerging that will be defined in the near future. 

India – 5G Availability

Global Telecom operators have launched 5G networks in early 2019.  5G has already been deployed in more than 60 countries and many more countries are still counting. It is a fact that more than 3.5 billion consumers are already using 5G compatible smartphones powered by Snapdragon. These phones are already built to deliver information or data delivery with high speeds and low latencies.  In India, network operators like Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio, BSNL etc., have already partnered with vendors like Ericsson, Huawei, Ciena and Samsung for planned trials and commercial launch of services by the end of the year 2022.  For instance, Huawei and Bharti Airtel   have conducted India’s first 5G network trial successfully and found that they could achieve a user throughput of more than 3 Gbps.  Samsung is one of Reliance Jio’s partners for its 5G field trials. It is expected that India will account for about 15 percent of worldwide market with an assumption that the telcos will be able to provide 5G coverage in metros, major cities and towns in the next two years i.e., 2023 and 2024.

5G’s commercial launch in India is around the corner as the spectrum auction has been successfully concluded in July 2022. Jio (Rs 88,078 crore) emerged as the largest spender in the first-ever 5G spectrum auction in the country by forking out almost twice as much as Airtel (Rs 43,084 crore) and acquiring half of all the airwaves, including the 700MHz. Airtel was much more circumspect than Jio, while Vi (Vodafone Idea) only spent Rs 18,799 crore for 6,228 MHz of spectrum. Adani Data Networks Limited has made bids worth Rs 212 crore to acquire 400 MHz spectrum in 26 GHz frequency band. There is a potential for telcos to charge a premium for 5G vs 4G.  The 5G Services will take time to mature and rollouts would likely be granular, starting with metros and larger cities.  

India – 5G Opportunities  

Indigenous Technology: There will be a mani-fold increase in demand for telecom network equipment to provide 5G Network connectivity.  It provides an opportunity for the promotion of local manufacturing as well as development of indigenous technology due to change in network components as compared to 3G and 4G.  Further, the need for software development on OTS (Off-The-Shelf) hardware required in 5G provides an immense opportunity to leverage on vast availability of software skilled resources in India.   

Fiber as a national asset:  Deployment of Fiber Cable Network is an important requirement for the rollout of 5G Network Connectivity.  But in India, we have about 30% of the towers fiberized with less than 7% of households connected as of Jan 2022.  It is more likely that fiber will be accorded the essential national infrastructure status to avoid delays in government permissions and minimize costs associated.

Setting up of 5G use case labs: 5G Network adoption will require phenomenal investment in downstream innovation when compared to investments made in previous generations of communications systems such as 4G and 3G.  It is expected that new business ecosystems are likely to emerge where multiple players will meet, compete and work together. 5G networks will open enormous opportunities to start-ups and smaller ecosystem players, who will eventually benefit from the innovation capabilities. Developers provide open interfaces to network “apps” and services.  Government is promoting the development of use case labs. It is proposed by the Government that the digital readiness of various sectors shall be monitored by a cross-sectoral entity like NITI Ayog. 

For instance, 5G Technology is widely adapted in Smart City Projects for the development and deployment of new applications which include air quality monitoring, energy consumption, vehicle movement on roads, traffic patterns, street lighting, smart vehicle parking management, people gathering management, and police/fire emergency response.

Rich and Uniform Consumer Experience:  5G deployment will certainly boost adoption of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, industrial IoT, edge computing, and robotics across industries like agriculture, e-commerce, healthcare, education, and pharma. The convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 will reduce manufacturing costs, improve quality and yields. Data Analytics, AI and Machine Learning (ML) will penetrate new market segments and thus enable better, data-driven decisions for businesses resulting in more precise, real-time, and predictive analytics. Indian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which are focused towards driving revenue growth and are reluctant to invest in IT infrastructure solutions initially, will require a resilient journey to Cloud as 5G Network is set to become a reality soon. MSMEs require flexibility to manage workloads by upgrading existing IT infrastructure to gain edge over competition. They can offer optimal services to customers and thereby strengthen their relationships with partners in the age of digital transformation.

India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom operators. 5G Networks will present a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and contribute to the socio-economic development of India. In conclusion, 5G will bound to create a powerful impact on India’s consumers and businesses by taking mobile experiences to a new level, thus introducing a gamut of applications and enhanced information exchange capabilities. 

Learners’ Opportunity     

5G rollout is expected to unlock massive job opportunities in India across the sectors. This would also mean upskilling and reskilling. For more details check our program @https://online.ifheindia.org/

Discussion Question        

Do you think insufficient facilities for transmitters would hamper 5G coverage in rural areas? Why?

Key Words

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Source Article

Tanveer Padode on April 8, 2022-Bhopal to be first 5G-enabled smart city in India-smartcitiescouncil.com-April 8, 2022

Standing Committee Report Summary-India’s Preparedness for 5G-prsindia.org

Qualcomm.com-Everything you need to know about 5G.

Tech Desk, Indian Express-Airtel, Huawei successfully conduct 5G-The Indian Express-

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