Highlights and Quotes from India’s 5G Congress 2018

India’s 5G Congress 2018, held September 19th and 20th in New Delhi, witnessed top policy makers, industry leaders, experts and observers deliberating on the future roadmap for the 5G rollout in India. The theme of the conference was ‘Developing a Roadmap for the Next Wireless Revolution.’ The first edition of the conference was held in 2017.

According to the 2018 conference brochure:

5G will be the key driver for Digital India initiatives. 5G is set to overtake 4G in India by 2020, and the backhaul equipment makers and network carriers are already developing the next-generation of mobile communication. The increase in the number of smart phone subscribers in India has led to a huge demand for data traffic, prompting network operators to upgrade their infrastructure. Currently, several 5G trials are being conducted in India by network operators and equipment providers in collaboration. The 5G-enabled digitization revenue is likely to be around $25.9 billion by 2026 while the 5G-enabled industry revenue is expected to add around $13 billion to operator revenue.

As per the industry predictions, India will be 5G enable by 2020 and this will further push the government’s digital delivery of services through the Digital India. 5G will not only improve the internet speed and QoS in the country but will also enable the digital transformation of services such as healthcare, education, entertainment, agriculture and manufacturing. The Make in India initiative will help in providing low-cost and high quality 5G mobile devices and telecom equipment in the market.

5G India Congress aims to become India’s best platform for all stakeholders including network operators, Government & technology providers to come together to discuss about the 5G development for next generation communications in India.

–>You can watch video highlights of the 5G Congress here.

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Manoj Sinha, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Communications and Minister of State for Railways, Government of India, was the chief speaker at the conference. Addressing the delegates he said, “We cannot afford to miss the 5G bus for India. The significance of 5G for India cannot be overlooked. 5G will help us leapfrog infrastructure challenges and bridge the digital divide.” The India minister added, “5G is not an incremental technology but an integration of systems. Its economic impact alone will have about $1 trillion by 2035.”

Gopal Vittal, CEO, Bharti Airtel, said, “5G is going to be a game changer and will have massive impact but to get this happen we will have to come together.” He further said that the Indian government needs to get the spectrum price right for investments to continue.  The government must relook at the prices set for the upcoming 5G spectrum auction. Vittal added that the return on capital in the industry is lower than 1%, while the price is significantly high.

Gopal continued, “We need at least 100 MHz of contiguous blocks of spectrum per operator and the pricing needs to be relooked. The government should further empower 5G high-level forum and allocate E and V bands. The fifth-generation, or 5G technology, will fulfill India’s larger socio-economic aspirations and create new job opportunities.”

Balesh Sharma, CEO of Vodafone-Idea, added, “5G is going to be an evolution but not a revolution.” He further said, “Smart City and Digital India will ride on 5G.”   “5G, which is going to impact all industries, will need massive amount of spectrum at low cost and massive amount of fibre at site level,” said Mr. Vittal.

R S Sharma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, said, “We need to promote huge investment to ensure there is required infrastructure in place to make 5G a success.” He added, “Regulations need to be there not to throttle 5G but to facilitate it.”

The experts speaking at the conference generally felt that the country may see the initial rollout of 5G in late 2019 or early 2020. Nitin Bansal, Managing Director, Ericsson India, said, “We are looking at 2020 as the timeline for 5G deployment in India.” “India will keep its date with 5G in 2020,” added Sanjay Malik, Head of India Market, Nokia.

Speaking about the union government’s efforts to drive 5G, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Govt of India, said, “We are working with states to remove constraints from ‘right of way’ to fibre optics.”

Marie Hogan, Head of Broadband & IoT, Business Area Networks, Ericsson, said, “5G will generate additional revenue opportunities of about $13 billion for India.”

Smart City and Digital India initiatives will ride on 5G, said Balesh Sharma. He added, “Enhanced mobile broadband, mission critical communication and Massive IoT are prime use cases of 5G.”

Speaking about the current broadband penetration in India and the future potential, Ryan Perera, Country Manager, Ciena, said, “Twenty-seven percent is the current broadband penetration in India.

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