India To Roll Out 5G Internet By 2020
India is planning to roll out 5G internet services by the year 2020. In order to complete this task successfully, the government has set up a high-level forum which will evaluate all possible roadmaps to make sure that 5G internet becomes prominent in the country. For the said objective, the ministries of telecom, information and technology, and science and technology have been included in the forum. A budget of Rs 500 crore is set aside for research and development of 5G technology by the government.
The minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said:
We missed the opportunity to participate when the standards were being set for 3G and 4G, but don’t want to miss the 5G opportunity. Now when the standards are being set for 5G across the world, India will also participate in the process. As per the OECD Committee on Digital Economic Policy, it has been stated that 5G technologies rollout will help in increasing GDP, creating employment, and digitising the economy.
Apart from the government, Indian telcos such as Airtel are also actively taking initiatives toward the 5G technology. Airtel on 26th September launched a mimo, a pre-5G technology, producing internet browsing speeds three times higher than the current levels. State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. along with Airtel have also signed initial pacts with smartphone makers such as Nokia for the development of 5G and its applications which are relevant to India.
India was slow to jump aboard the 3G and 4G train. Even currently, the 4G technology adoption is at a nascent stage whereas a lot of countries have adopted 4G and even 3G has become a secondary internet technology. In order not to lose out on the 5G hype, India is planning to hold auction for 5G spectrums. While a part of the government back an early sale of 5G airwaves, the telecom industry wants it to be sold only post 2018, citing the lack advanced ecosystem around the technology as the main reason. The industry also believes that India will get 5G only around 2021-2022.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which will finalise the standards for 5G mobile technology proposed the downlink peak rate for 5G at 20 gigabits (or 20,000 megabits) per second. These speeds however, cannot be ascertained yet since the technology is yet to be deployed.
A country where even 4G speeds at the moment are underwhelming and network speed throttling is a major issue, 5G technology becoming a regular for consumers seem like an overkill or a distant dream. But, the forum setup by the government includes all the important bodies necessary to make 5G technology a relevant dream in the future. The high-level forum will work towards accelerated deployment of 5G for specific use cases in India, and these will include development of roadmap related to emerging technologies, testing, and trials.
Manoj Sinha has said that India is “We are open to collaboration” with countries who have set up a similar forum. This early resilience shown by the government is definitely a positive sign and a step in the right direction.