Addressing delegates at the ET Telecom 5G Congress on Friday, Sinha said the new telecom policy would be suitably aligned to ensure India is 5G ready and in sync with the world’s top telecom markets.
Having lagged on both the 3G and 4G fronts, the Indian government wants to draw level with the rest of the world on 5G, which is a next-generation mobile technology that promises blistering download speeds of 20 GBs/second against 1 GB/second on a 4G network.
Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan, who was present at the ET event, said the government has already approved a 5G technologies test bed that would be anchored by IIT Chennai as India seeks to be at the forefront of development as well as local manufacturing of 5G devices, going forward.
The 5G test bed, she said, would be operational in six months, and would be a key enabler for standards and devices that would be needed for 5G rollout and usage.
Sinha’s unalloyed enthusiasm for 5G was hard to miss, when he said the fast mobile broadband technology “would transform the world much in the same way as the World Wide Web did two decades ago,” and he assured the industry that the telecom department (DoT) “would take all the right decisions at the right time,” to ensure there are no spectrum supply challenges along the way.
So much so, the minister said DoT would very shortly free up airwaves in the E (80 GHz) and V (60 GHz) bands to boost data speeds amid the upsurge in mobile broadband consumption.
The government, he said, is going all out to foster a vibrant 5G ecosystem by constituting an apex forum headed by the telecom secretary that is formulating a 5G roadmap to position India as “a globally synchronised participant in the design, development and manufacture of 5G-based technologies, products and apps”.
Sundararajan said India is getting ready for 5G, and one of the pillars of the new telecom policy would be outlining steps for the country to “take advantage” of this new fast mobile broadband technology and be “at a leadership level” when it actually arrives.
She said the outcome of ET Telecom 5G Congress would be feeding into the new telecom policy, and the roadmap would be unveiled in a couple of months.
“We may not be leaders in terms of all technology, but in terms of 5G usage, we have a real opportunity to be a leader, especially since India is witnessing a huge jump in data consumption,” the telecom secretary said.
In the last one year alone, she said, India has progressed from “a low-to-mid-range data usage per capita to very high data usage,” a scenario that has induced all leading telecom players to rapidly migrate their legacy networks to 4G.
Minister Sinha, in turn, said the government is betting big on 5G as it is expected to deliver new levels of performance and efficiency and offer opportunities for myriad apps and business models that could “potentially lead to better healthcare, smarter cities, more efficient manufacturing and enhanced lifestyles”.
He said the high-level government forum, outlining the fifth generation technology roadmap, would also suggest incentives to attract tech startups and VCs into the 5G realm.
Besides, the Sundararajan-led forum would also come up with suggestions on undertaking associated 5G-related research, IPR/standards development and building proof of concepts through a mix of pilots and the PPP route.