We’re working with telcos for 5G deployment: Ericsson India head

Chennai, August 7

After an explosive growth in mobile data usage, India is now planning a foray into 5G mobile telephony. Talks are on for conducting 5G trials soon and Ericsson India wants to be at the centre of this transformation in telecom industry. Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions, Ericsson - South East Asia, Oceania and India, talks about the company’s plans for the Indian market. Excerpts:

What are Ericsson’s plans for the Indian market?

India is a very important market for us, both business-wise and from a technology perspective. We have three R&D centres here. We also have a manufacturing set up in Pune that is producing and exporting 5G-ready equipment to South East Asian markets. From a business standpoint, one of our key focus areas is to accelerate investments in networks and establish a leading position in 5G.

When do you think India will be 5G-ready?

Operators are investing and enhancing their 4G networks and this will continue for a few years as data traffic increases. At the same time, we are working with operators to enable a seamless migration to 5G. From a technology standpoint, Ericsson Radio System hardware has been 5G-ready since 2015 and we have already shipped more than three million 5G-ready radios to our customers in India.

What is driving telcos towards 5G adoption?

One of the main issues facing operators across the world is to do with the rapidly growing mobile data. The task at hand is to drive efficiencies while delivering a great end-user experience. Just to give an idea of the growing mobile data traffic: Ericsson’s Mobility Report predicts that the mobile data traffic per smartphone per month in India is expected to grow from 9.8 GB in 2018 to 18 GB in 2024. This implies that networks will be managing unprecedented levels of data traffic in the coming years. Here, 5G will help operators increase their network capacities and enable them to cater to the ever-growing demand for data. Our studies in fact indicate that 5G will bring down cost per GB by about 10 times as compared with 4G, thus enabling massive efficiencies for operators.

What is the status of 5G deployment in India? What’s Ericsson doing to push it?

With advanced field trials expected to start soon, India will be starting off with next generation networks around the same time as the rest of the world. 5G will be use case driven and we are already working with telecom operators, industry players as well as regulators and academia towards developing India-specific use cases, like 5G-connected car and 5G-connected drones. We are in an active collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and have established a Centre of Excellence and innovation lab aimed to stimulate the 5G ecosystem in the country.

What are the additional infrastructure needs of a 5G network?

5G will not be an overlay network. 5G will work in tandem with 4G. The infrastructure requirements depend on where the operator starts and what sort of deployments the operator is looking at – whether they are looking at nationwide coverage from day one or addressing high footfall areas.

Published on August 08, 2019
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