While speaking at an event organized by the Foreign Correspondent Club on Friday evening, Nokia India Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Amit Marwah said India is going to record the fastest 5G rollout in the world and it is going to have the biggest success of the next -generation telecom service with the support of the government.
“We (India) are not late, we are at the right time. In the rest of the country compared to other countries where the ecosystem has to develop. We have a 5G-ready ecosystem. We have 10 per cent of smartphones in India which are 5G ready. India is going to witness the fastest rollout of 5G which will be at least three times faster than what we have seen in 4G,” Marwah said. The 5G services will progressively cover the entire country over the next couple of years — Reliance Jio promises to do that by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024.
Marwah said telecom manufacturing is becoming robust in India backed by the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. “We were part of PLI 1.0. We were one of the only companies that met and exceeded our target of PLI 1.0. We let go-off that scheme and let go-off the incentive of one year because PLI 2.0 was even more interesting. Volumes and scale in India are increasing so much that you have let go for one year. We re-applied for PLI f2.0 and today we are part of PLI 2.0 which means we are investing more, adding more lines and adding more products,” he said.
The PLI scheme offers up to 20 times incentive on incremental sales of telecom equipment made in India. The government has added additional incentives for designing products in India in the second version of the PLI scheme. Marwah said that manufacturing is on a very positive note in India across the sectors but definitely in telecom.
“The only challenge right now is the availability of fabs which are semiconductors. 60-80 per cent of what we manufacture requires semiconductors. That is the area where we still need to work on. There is still some kind of infiltration of equipment in telecom from neighboring countries which need to have a little more vigilance and kind of stopping at the customs,” Marwah added.
Note: In October, Nokia announced that it had won a multi-year deal with Reliance Jio India to build one of the largest 5G networks in the world.
Department of Telecom, Deputy Director General (Policy) YGSC Kishore Babu said that the 5G adoption and applications are expected to be more diverse in India compared to other countries. “However, most of the use cases across the world remind us we may have to innovate to meet most of the requirements in the coming months and years,” Babu said.
Tech Mahindra, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Growth, Jagdish Mitra said 5G is the biggest opportunity in technology so far, for India to bridge what we have typically referred to as Bharat and India.
“We have 62 per cent of our workforce in the agriculture sector, and 5G presents us with a huge opportunity to convert that into the most profitable segment. We can enable high yields by producing smarter networks and delivering products to the farmers,” Mitra said.
Telecom Sector Skill Council, CEO, Arvind Bali said close to 25 lakh people need to be reskilled and up-skilled in the field of telecom in the next few years because there is a shift from 4G to 5G.
“We need to have at least one lakh technicians and engineers, in the next few years, who have been trained specifically on 5G courses for the new job requirements and we at TSSC are setting up Centers of Excellence and training labs with the help of the industry. 5G is going to open up big requirements for a talented workforce and we are training the youth in new-age technologies,” Bali said. He added that TSSC is also developing all the curriculum and the digital content for training people to meet the industry requirement.
End Note: Despite all the hype and hoopla about 5G in India, none of the 5G network announcements have stated support for 5Gi which is part of the ITU-R M.2150 5G standard for RIT/SRITs. The 5Gi standard uses Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) to extend 5G connectivity and the range of a base station. It does so by using bands of the spectrum, which are lower than 5G’s operational bands but offers a high-range waveform. Ideally, the 5G frequency band ranges from 700MHz to 52GHz, but 5Gi can go lower than 700MHz and up to 36GHz without sacrificing the range. 5Gi was contributed to ITU-R WP 5D by TSDSI and backed by the Indian government.
LMLC technology increases the inter cell site distance to 6 km from the 3GPPs 1.7 km, which should make the deployment cost-effective. Also, the 5Gi standard reduces the mobility speed from 3 km/h to 30 km/h to make 5G network usage satisfactory to India’s scenario. In contrast, the 3GPP RIT/SRIT in the ITU M.2150 5G standard has maintained the mobility requirement between 120 km/h to 500 km/h, which is inconceivable in India.
One year ago, Vodafone Idea said it was working with a “few companies” to prepare for trials using 5Gi. “We are already working with a few companies. As and when the product is ready, we will be keen and will be doing trials and deploy accordingly” Jagbir Singh, chief technology officer (CTO) of Vi said at the time. He didn’t divulge details of the partners are. At this time, Vodafone Idea has not stated when it would deploy 5G– only that it would be 5G NSA (with a LTE anchor for everything other than the radio access network).
India’s TSDSI candidate IMT 2020 RIT with Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) for rural coverage of 5G services
https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/m/R-REC-M.2150-1-202202-I!!PDF-E.pdf (ITU-R 5G RIT/SRIT standard is M.2150)