5G network deployment can start in 3 months, but infrastructure not ready in India: Experts

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on March 10, 2021

Industry players push for using gears manufactured locally

5G networks in India can be deployed in three months but in limited areas as the optical fibre-based infrastructure to support the technology is not ready yet, telecom industry players said on Tuesday.

Nokia India Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Amit Marwah said India has to take a call on deployment of 5G services; otherwise it will miss to take advantage of the next-generation technology that it can bring for the economy.

‘Not a sales channel’

“If we do not enable 5G very soon, we might be potentially missing the bus. 5G is not a sales channel for the operators to make money. It is the need of the hour in order to create new economic value in India and the world. We are manufacturing 5G in India. The hardware is ready. If it happens, in three months, we can start deploying 5G networks in India,” Marwah said.

He said Nokia is also exporting 5G equipment from its Chennai plant to other parts of the world and is evaluating the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for participation in it.

Telecom Export Promotion Council chairman Sandeep Aggarwal pushed for using gears manufactured locally and said the control should be with India for security purposes.

He said that optical fibre-bases infrastructure to support 5G services is available only in select areas and, therefore, roll-out can take place in only limited places.

Aggarwal said the cost of developing technology in India is high because of the high rate of interest on finance, while China has given out around $200 billion to its local companies to develop new technologies.

Nasscom executive council member and Tech Mahindra Chief Strategy Officer Jagdish Mitra said the Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for all the countries and that every country has the right to decide on what is right for them to ensure resilience in business.

“The opportunity is tremendous for the market here in India and that cannot be ignored. It will attract people to come to India, come and leverage the talent, make in India, sell and export from India to the world, and make it a hub for some of their R&D. We don’t just need it to be only skill-based, but a place where you are creating and innovating. The mindset needs to change, and welcome people to come and do more,” Mitra said.

Telecom Sector Skill Council CEO Arvind Bali said a country cannot make entire technology but need to take support from others also.

He said the PLI scheme is the right step for making India self-reliant and creating huge employment.

“Now with PLI in telecom hardware, we estimate it will create one million jobs in a very short period of time. And in these segments, we were skilling around 15 lakh people and now we expect we will skill around 50 lakh in two years,” Bali said.

Electronics Sector Skill Council Chairman chairman and HCL co-founder Ajai Chowdhry said the country also needs to look at creating a component ecosystem, specially semiconductors, to make India self-reliant.

Published on March 10, 2021

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