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.


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.


3 thoughts on “Highlights and Quotes from India’s 5G Congress 2018

  1. India’s 5G field trials to start early next year and continue for 2-3 quarters or more

    ET, Radhey Shyam Sarda, Wireless CTO, Huawei India discussed at length about Indian industry’s efforts to drive 5G in the country.

    What are the new technologies that Indian telcos are aggressively pushing for?

    Now telcos are focusing on making the network ready for future and when we look at the future, ofcourse 5G is one key milestone that we see. Telcos are introducing technologies like NFV and NB-IoT to introduce IoT use cases to start with. They are also working on massive MIMO which is a 5G technology and it has been applied in 4G network as well to address the exponential growth of data traffic.

    Another key technology that we are applying is called CloudAIR. If we look at India market, we have 2G, 3G and we also have 4G while 4G is still getting densified.

    Now that we are talking about 5G, the key question is that, when we have to keep 2G, 3G for some more time, we cannot sunset them immediately. How do we introduce 4G given that the spectrum is limited? The traditional way of doing this is called refarming.

    So if I have to refarm some 2G spectrum and use it for 4G, I will have to shut down 2G which is not possible in India market scenario because there is still very huge number of 2G subscribers and 3G subscribers. Hence we are introducing CloudAIR which enables us to dynamically share spectrum between technologies and that is how we are able to introduce 4G in the same spectrum in which we are running 2G.

    Given that there are times in the day when 2G traffic is high for voice and then there are other times when data traffic is high, in such scenario this technology is able to maximize the utilization of spectrum and enables us to do more and more 4G in the limited spectrum with 2G or 3G service continuity.

    We have now taken this family to the standards and it is now getting into 3GPP standard for LTE and 5G spectrum sharing and this will also be one of the key technologies going forward while we add towards 5G India market and globally.

    Where does India stand today on the 5G trials front?

    In the beginning of this year we conducted the first 5G demo with one of the leading operators in January. In IMC also we demonstrated 3 use cases on live 5G network. The use cases could be experienced in Huawei booth as well as at booths of Airtel and Reliance Jio. In Airtel booth we demonstrated AR-based holographic communication and in Jio booth we demonstrated telemedicine based remote diagnosis. All use cases that we are introducing demonstrate key technologies like low latency, AR/VR. These technologies will be the key building blocks of many more 5G use cases.


  2. Sterlite Tech, a data network solutions company has won a Rs 1,512 crore the first phase of the MahaNet program for the implementation of BharatNet-II in Maharashtra.

    “As a leading implementation partner, Sterlite Tech will connect 4,045 gram panchayats across eight districts of Maharashtra, impacting over 7.5 million citizens, Sterlite Tech in a statement Monday said.

    State government’s nodal agency, Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation Limited (MahaIT) aims to connect nearly 13,000 gram panchayats through the MahaNet-I project.

    The Pune-based company has already provided more than 1 lakh route kilometers (rkm) of fibre optic to Centre’s ambitious BharatNet’s initiative that aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats or village blocks by March 31, 2019.

    With an experience in network design and rollout, and capabilities in latest deployment technologies such as video surveys, geo-monitoring, sensors, and analytics, with MahaNet-I initiative, Sterlite will continue its strong commitment towards achieving the Digital India vision, it added.


Comments are closed.