Panel expects rollout of 5G by end-2021, early 2022

New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2021 Published on February 08, 2021

The government expects the roll out of 5G services to start by end of 2021 or early 2022 but it needs to do more for making this happen, a panel report tabled in the Parliament on Monday said.

The Parliamentray panel headed by Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor said that by the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022, there will be some 5G roll-out in India for some specific uses, but 4G should continue to be there for at least another five-six years.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is expected to hold another round of auction this year in which radiowaves for 5G technology could be put up for sale. However, the desired frequency band for 5G services is not included in the round of auctions the telecom ministry already announced from March 1, through which the department is expected to dish out spectrum worth ₹3.92 lakh crore.

Poor planing

The panel pulled up the DoT saying that there has been delay in rolling out 5G services in India while several other countries have already started offering this next generation service.

“From the foregoing, the Committee are inclined to conclude that sufficient preparatory work has not been undertaken for launching of 5G services in India. As such, India has not moved beyond the modest beginning stage as compared to other countries in the world,” the report said adding that the panel has indicated that the delay in launch of 5G services reflects very poorly on planning and execution in the country.

“So it is very likely that after missing the 2G, 3G and 4G bus, India is going to miss on 5G opportunities, unless time-bound action is taken in core areas where governmental intervention is required,” the report said.

‘No guidelines’

The DoT has informed the panel that the test bed for 5G trials is expected to be ready by October 2021.

According to the report Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has also raised concern before the panel that the telecom operators submitted the applications of 5G trial in January, 2020. However, till date, the guidelines for trials have not been made clear and there is no set date for commencement of these trials.

Keeping in view India‘s specific requirements and to take lead in 5G deployment, the DoT had approved financial grant for the multi-institute collaborative project to set up indigenous 5G test bed in March 2018 with total cost of ₹224.01 crore. The Committee also noted that government has taken many initiatives under ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ for promotion of domestic manufacturing in the country and therefore, it hopes that domestic manufacturing in the country will receive a fillip and is of the view that the promotion of proper R&D is absolutely necessary for the success of telecom manufacturing in the country.

“An ecosystem must be developed for complete manufacturing rather than just assembly, as manufacturing gives much higher value addition. A Telecom Research and Development Fund (TRDF) is to be created with an initial corpus of ₹1,000 crore for promoting research, innovation and manufacturing indigenous telecommunications equipment,” it added.

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Published on February 08, 2021
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