The launch of 5G services by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now happen on September 29 and not on Independence Day as planned earlier. The launch will coincide with the opening ceremony of India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022.

Sources close to the development told BusinessLine that the decision to give the Independence Day a miss for launching the services commercially is because more time would be needed by telecom service providers (TSPs) and their vendors to be fully equipped, so that they could at least launch the services in a few cities to begin with.

“September 29 will be the first day of the IMC and the Prime Minister is likely to launch the 5G services commercially, where all telecom operators and their vendors will be showcasing the 5G technology. There will also be global players at the three-day event to be held between September 29 and October 1 at Pragati Maidan,” a senior government official told BusinessLine.

According to another source, “there is no launch plan on August 15 at the Red Fort, and there could be only a mention of the merits of 5G technology and government’s successful telecom spectrum auction by the PM in his speech.”

5G testbed

The PM has already inaugurated the country’s first 5G testbed on May 17, which would enable start-ups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities. Led by IIT-Madras, the 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes.

According to Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, 5G deployment will start from August-September and commence in 20-25 cities and towns by the end of this year. He had indicated that India, with its current data prices significantly lower than the global average, will continue to set rate benchmarks as new services are rolled out.

In order to roll out the services at the earliest, the government has also completed the spectrum harmonisation process on a single day on Wednesday, paving the way for TSPs holdings to be streamlined within a particular band for greater efficiency.

“The Committee of Secretaries have already approved the process of auctions, and spectrum harmonisation, which used to take months earlier, have been completed on a single day (Wednesday),” said Vaishnaw.

“Just like we have successfully conducted the auctions, we expect to finish entire allocation of spectrum to the TSPs before August 10; hopefully, they can put up their equipment at maximum level by October, and we should be able launch 5G services in September-October time frame,” he said.

India is also developing its own 5G stack, and there is a huge interest among the global community in having a good trusted and affordable technology source for telecom, because telecom is the primary consumption point for all digital services. Also, the government hopes to export 5G stack to other developing nations.