India’s 5G network will have a desi soul

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on June 27, 2021

Local players to provide backbone for the tech which PM may flag off on I-Day next year

India’s 5G network will ride on technology and hardware developed by local companies, big and small, and is slated for commercial launch by August 15 next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence.

A government official who is in the know of things told BusinessLine: “The 5G network would start around August next year and the PM may launch it officially on August 15. The major surprise of the launch will be that you will find a lot of Indian technology – be it in hardware or software – in it. As you are aware, India is very strong in software, so many technologies will be dependent on our local software companies. They will be the backbone.”

Roping in global firms

He said companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm are already making hardware in India, and many other global companies will be working together for the success of 5G in India.

Asked about Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, which are still not invited for the trials, the official said, “Why talk about these two companies only? There are many other companies that are developing 5G technology for the world…many local players are also capable.”

Recently, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), also said that India has a huge talent pool and no one should not undermine that. “Some fully indigenous stacks are also taking shape, which is extraordinary in this particular case. As 5G starts taking shape in India, one thing that we would like to enable is manufacturing in India so that it is not only the users of 5G in India, but also the manufacturers and providers of these technologies who can make a mark in the global arena,” he said.

IoT & 5G

So, while the DoT will work on 5G, MeitY has to work on devices, sensors, IoT and many other related devices like drones, robotics and AR/VR.

“IoT and 5G are made for each other…they work beautifully together. As sensors integrate significantly into our lives, the skeleton is the device and the life is weaved into those devices by 5G. These cannot work on 2G, 3G or 4G. With 4G, you can get started, but 5G really brings them out in their full brilliance,” Sawhney added.

Companies like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are also working in full swing developing 5G network and are undertaking trials. While Jio is doing trials in Mumbai using indigenously developed technology, Airtel had demonstrated 5G over a live commercial network in Hyderabad, becoming India’s first telco to do that.

DoT had in May allocated 5G trial spectrum in 700-megahertz (MHz), 3.2-3.6-gigahertz (GHz), and 24.25-28.5-GHz bands to Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea to develop India-specific use-cases. The 5G auctions would take place later this year.

Published on June 27, 2021

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