India: 5G roll-outs expected before 4G LTE is extensively deployed

by Rekha Jain of Livemint.com

Since 5G roll-outs in India are likely even before 4G LTE is extensively deployed, the adopted road map for 5G should ensure that the existing and near-future investments in 4G can be leveraged.

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Even while telecom operators in India are in the midst of rolling out 4G LTE networks, the minister for telecom has announced that India would roll-out 5G networks by 2020 – a time frame that has been accepted by service providers in many parts of the world. South Korea and Japan want to showcase leading 5G applications in the Winter and Summer Olympics in January 2018 and Summer of 2020, respectively.

However, Indian operators face several challenges for 5G roll-outs from a business point of view. They have far less spectrum in comparison to international operators. This increases their cost of operations. Many of them are also weighed down by debt. Ever faster rounds of new technology introduction when prior technology investments have not been recouped add further complexity. This juggernaut of ever evolving generations of technology and forthcoming 5G require a supportive policy and regulatory environment. Without it, the telecom sector’s health and India’s economic competitiveness would be greatly impaired. The imperatives of remaining competitive and consumer demands of faster and higher quality services leave little choice to operators but to invest in 5G.

The diverse requirements of 5G highlighted above call for significant changes in the national spectrum policy and regulation. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/ Mint

India’s DoT Creates Dedicated 5G Technology Test Bed after Ericsson 5G Demonstration

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has firmed up plans to set up a 5G test bed that will be anchored by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, where this author presented several guest lectures in December 1990.  According to a DoT official, the test bed is expected to be operational within the next six months.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) too is soon expected to issue a set of recommendations to the Center that would enable companies wanting to conduct research experiments for the latest generation of mobile telephony to do so domestically. A senior TRAI official told the Indian Express newspaper that these recommendations would be a part of the suggestions on ease of doing business that the regulator is in process of issuing to the government.

“We need to have an ecosystem in India itself, which is simple so that experiments can be conducted. We should have sand-boxing, and licensing for experimentation on 5G technology here. For experiment purposes, we should have a light-touch system, where if some company wants to research, it should be able to get a license to do so,” the (unnamed) official said. “If these experiments were happening here, our officials would have been training here itself instead of China. We are soon going to give recommendations to the government on this issue,” the official added.

To accelerate research and development of technologies as well as specifications related to 5G, the Center has set up a high-level forum comprising officials from the DoT, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, and the Department of Science & Technology, with representatives from industry and academia. The high-level forum, set up in September, is expected to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans with a broader target of rolling out 5G in India by 2020, which is the aim for most global telecom companies for launch of commercial 5G services.

India has traditionally been behind the curve in adoption of mobile technologies, especially in when the global standards for 3G and 4G were being set. One of the key objectives behind setting up the high-level forum on 5G was for India to be able to participate in the process being undertaken by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  in creating standards for 5G (IMT 2020), which is expected to be a key driver of technological growth in form of artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc.

The high-level forum will also work towards accelerated deployment of 5G for specific use cases in India, and these will include the development of road map related to emerging technologies, testing, and trials. It will also aim to strengthen domestic telecom equipment manufacturing necessary for the technology. As per a presentation prepared by the DoT, the targets set for the forum suggest that local manufacturers should be able to capture 50 per cent of Indian market and 10 per cent of global market over next five to seven years. The aforementioned DoT official said that the proposed 5G test bed at IIT Madras will play the role of a key enabler for research and development of domestic manufacturing of 5G equipment.

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/telecom-infrastructure-dot-to-set-up-dedicated-ecosystem-for-testing-5g-technologies-5000303/

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Earlier in December, Ericsson demonstrated a 5.75Gbps “5G” network setup in Mumbai, India.  In their live demonstration at at a trade show, the company showcased “essential technologies on the road to 5G.”  One highlight was Gigabit LTE (1 GBPS download speeds) with License Assisted Access+ (LAA) technology. The LAA live demo highlighted the technology’s ability to leverage wireless network resources using higher frequency bands on a small cell architecture.  Other technology innovations presented in the Ericsson showcase included advancements in Radio Network Evolution, 5G Ready Transport and Network Slicing.

+License Assisted Access is a LTE feature that leverages the 5 GHz unlicensed band in combination with licensed spectrum to deliver a performance boost for mobile device users.  For more on LAA, please visit here.

Ericsson estimates that mobile data traffic in India will grow by 11 times by 2023.

Ericsson estimates that mobile data traffic in India will grow by 11 times by 2023.

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In a recently released Ericsson 5G Business Potential Report, 5G will enable a $27 billion revenue opportunity for Indian telecom operators by 2026. The largest opportunity will be seen in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors. This will be over and above the revenue generated from traditional services which are expected to grow up to $63 billion by 2026.

Key findings from the Ericsson report:

  • Industry digitalization investments are growing and generating revenue for ICT players worth an estimated USD 3.3 trillion by 2026
  • Operators can benefit from an additional 34 percent revenue from 5G-enabled market opportunities by 2026
  • 5G has the potential to deliver unparalleled benefits to society and businesses
  • The time is now to start creating a 5G business

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/in-other-news/021217/ericsson-demonstrates-575gbps-5g-network-setup-in-india.html

 

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