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5G: Powering New-Tech Industrial Evolution In India Implementation of 5G and associated technologies will help drive digital transformation to achieve the goal of digital inclusion and connected society. 5G will empower the CSPs and enterprises to reshape their business models to launch innovative services

By Shrabona Ghosh

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Entrepreneur India

India is well-positioned to profit greatly from the adoption of 5G technology: A surge of disruptive opportunities has been sparked throughout the world as a result of 5G's quick and broad adoption. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks which aims to connect devices, machines and people who use them through high-speed and low-latency data connections.

Autonomous cars, smart cities, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are a few of its transformational features.

The advent of 5G technology holds potential to propel India into a new era of growth and development. "5G simplified the overall wireless technology, in 5G, the continuous transmission of signaling was reduced to limited transmission based on the traffic, which indirectly means 5G made the network and the technology more sustainable," said Umang Jindal, head of Ericsson network solutions , software and performance for Ericsson South east Asia , Oceania and India, adding that Ericsson classify 5G into five S: Speed, security, sustainable, smart devices and service differentiator.

India is expected to emerge into a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2030 as per market projections and 5G is expected to play a major role here. Implementation of 5G and associated technologies will help drive digital transformation to achieve the goal of digital inclusion and connected society. 5G will empower the CSPs and enterprises to reshape their business models to launch innovative services. As per estimates, 5G connections in India is expected to reach near 369 million subscribers by 2026. The numbers may vary across market reports but a strong demand for 5G in India remains the bottom line, said a report by Nokia.

"The rollout of 5G started in 2019, but in India we started in 2022 and in a matter of one and a half years, we've seen tremendous adoption with 1.5 million subscribers already. Almost 740 districts of India are already covered with 5G, and that's more than 80 per cent of the country," said Arun Gopinath, Head of Mobile Networks Technology Centre, Nokia Bangalore. Nokia is already manufacturing 5G NR and 5G Massive MIMO equipment at its Chennai factory that takes care of its domestic demand and as well as the ongoing export of 5G gear to other countries.

As the digital ecosystem grows and your digitisation journey advances, enterprise requires a network that can support its connectivity needs while being secure, cost-effective, and sustainable. Tata Communications provides a one-stop, easy-to-manage pre-integrated 5G network solution that offers an orchestration and automation platform, backed by industry-specific domain expertise. "People started looking at 5G to replace various other technologies that are being used inside an enterprise campus to automate production lines, connect robotics and vehicles within the campus. For this, companies needed to set up a network which went beyond just coverage to being used for mission critical applications within a campus which would help in connecting equipment or devices or applications used within that area,"said Vishy Ramaswamy, vice president, 5G & Digital Solutions, Tata Communications.

The advent of 5G is allowing mobile technology to intersect with the demands of fixed line services and price points. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) enables network operators to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband to suburban and rural areas, supporting home and business applications where fiber is prohibitively expensive to lay and maintain. The cost and complexity of delivering fixed broadband has continually challenged the roll-out of high-speed data services, "FWAs are the most successful use case globally. In the context of India, FWA plays a very critical role because fixed broadband connectivity is very low. It's at around 11 per cent, so, there are around 350 million homes in India, and only 35 million homes have fixed broadband. Therefore, FWA is a very good way to bring connectivity to the unconnected homes and provide fiber like experience. Besides, FWA is also a profitable use case because from an operator point of view, there is very little incremental investment required to roll out FW services," said Jayanta Dey, executive president, 5G Business, HFCL.

India is now one of the very few countries in the world that have an indigenous stack on 4G and very soon on 5G as well. In terms of challenges, how India navigated the impediments in creating their India stack? "Any development that has to happen in deep technology will always have challenges. Mobile technology is very demanding in terms of quality of service that is needed by the users. The main learning was getting market access first and then securing products for long enough in these competitive times. We are amongst the five countries to have our own stack and we need to make sure our products are out there providing all the high tech features," said Preetham Uthaiah, vice president, wireless-R&D and PLM, Tejas Networks.

As most organizations are just embarking on their 5G journeys, reports suggest only 30 per cent have reached the trial and real-world implementation stages. Despite this, these early adopters are already seeing tangible business benefits, and as many as 60 per cent of them have increased their operational efficiency.

(They were speaking at Entrepreneur India's Tech and Innovation Summit)

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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