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India’s DoT approves 5G applications from major telecom operators paving the way for an imminent 5G launch. The trial is reported to begin as soon as this week.
India is taking a major stride in its 5G direction. Now it is one step closer to realize its 5G dream. The Government of India and the telecom regulatory body Department of Telecommunications have accepted applications for the 5G launch from major telecom operators.
DoT India has given a nod to three private telecoms; Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) and the state-run telecom Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited to begin 5G trials.
The first phase trial will last for 6 months that includes 2 months for physical infrastructure setups.
India ranks second-largest in the telecommunication network with 1179.49 million subscribers on both fixed and mobile phone connections. However, there was no conclusion as to the launch of the Next-Gen 5G technology.
The upgrade to the fifth-generation broadband would comprise the challenge of data security, heavy traffic increase, and a high volume of bandwidth consumption, and less latency. Additionally, lack of a 5G ecosystem, spectrum prices, lack of fiber penetration also had India mull over the 5G launch for years.
Besides these, the lack of sufficient fiber deployment was another cause in India lagging behind South Korea, USA and European countries, and especially China, its rival in anything and everything.
Bala Malladi, CEO ACT, an Indian broadband provider, attributes the challenge of the 5G in India to inadequate fiber connections. He says “Even on 5G, the backhaul (digging trenches and physically laying the cables) is going to be based on fiber connections” and India is far behind meeting the requirements.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Gupta, head of India at NXP Semiconductors, says “right now, we are far behind ‘fiberization’, I would say 5G is still a few years away from being a reality”.
However, all these odds are now behind. With the Indian government’s approval for 5G, Indian telcos can finally provide ultra-fast 5G broadband to millions of telecom subscribers. The major telecom companies are all but ready for the go.
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio is best placed to lead as the country’s frontrunner in the fifth-gen tech revolution. It is already working on a homegrown 5G network. It is also the news in Indian media that Jio is developing gits own Massive-MIMO and 5G Small Cell equipment for commercial viability.
Jio is known to have already tested its own 5G technology in lab networks, by collaborating with Qualcomm. It is said to have achieved 1 Gbps speed with the test.
Jio’s pitch for 5G closely aligns with Indian Government’s push for Made in India slogan. Jio’s aggressive strategies and innovation means it gain more technical support from the Indian government.
Likewise, Bharti Airtel, another leading telecom in India has told that it had a successful 5G test in January. They have also claimed that their 5G network is ready for launch and only requires a green signal from the authority. Earlier, Airtel had already demonstrated live 5G network in India, becoming the first to do so on a commercial network.
The talk of the spectrum often revolves around the 5G network. It also remains to be seen which bands will the telecom be using for the 5G launch. It has been reported that telecom operators in India will launch their 5G on 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz as well as the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. Checkout Popular 5G spectrum bands.
One of the reasons the Indian government was complacent with the 5G was the lack of compatible devices. If there are no 5G-enabled devices, then there is no need for the technology itself.
However, the 5G ecosystem is now gaining prominence in India. Over the past few months, smartphones with 5G have launched to a greater extent. Be it due to the huge sales of phones like Xiaomi Mi 11 or iPhone 12 or Samsung S21, 5G phone penetration has gained a momentum now.
As a result, 5G support has become one of the sought-after specs on smartphones. Suddenly those without 5G have begun to sound outdated. Cost-friendly devices are also coming with 5G support. The increased 5G ecosystem served as a compelling case to expedite the push for 5G.
5G launch has been one of the hot topics in Nepali telecommunication for a while. Nepal Telecom, the government-owned telecom is preparing to launch the next-gen cellular technology soon. It is set to acquire a 5G spectrum from NTA for a year and 5G has become one of the focal points in the government’s digital Nepal Framework vision.
Currently, NTC is coordinating with NTA to decide on the trial modality and its commercial viability. The government is adamant to initiate the 5G testing in the current fiscal year while Nepal Telecom has already started its preparation for 5G trial.
Meanwhile, the second-largest telecom operator Ncell is also awaiting a spectrum from Nepal Telecom Authority for its 5G upgrade. However, the regulatory body has not delivered its verdict on spectrum allocation to Ncell yet. But it is expected for a response around the launch of NTC’s 5G. If Nepal’s two telecoms launch their 5G network, the customers can expect to receive competitive and cost-friendly telecom services.
5G is a highly advanced cellular network that can theoretically offer a 20 Gbps data rate than its predecessor 4G‘s 100 Mbps at peak. Thus it can become the vehicle for a major tech revolution. The application of 5G spans across manufacturing industry to automobiles to even banking and hospitals.
Due to its speed and low latency, the 5G network can enable autonomous vehicle. It can replace doctors with precise surgery. Additionally, it can offer a smooth 4K and 8K streaming and gaming experience.
5G will play a major role to enhance Augmented Reality (AR), Improve the Internet of Things (IoT), And grow Artificial Intelligence to new heights.
Despite being one of the leading countries in telecommunications connectivity, India has lagged behind a number of countries in the 5G race.
The fifth-gen revolutionary tech is now available in more than 61 countries according to GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) as of January 2021. Additionally, more than 413 operators in 131 countries are investing in various 5G tests, trials, pilots, and deployments.
The data from Opensignal shows that South Korea leads the 5G race with speed and coverage. Then there are China, the USA, and UK catching up. Now it is India’s high time to inaugurate 5G technology and also make an impact in the sub-continent.
What do you think of India’s imminent 5G launch? Could Jio’s 5G strategies also inspire a similar revolution in Nepal? You can provide your insights in the comments section below.