Ericsson and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have announced a partnership for a long-term cooperation for joint research in the area of radio, computing and AI (artificial intelligence). Both organisations have signed two milestone agreements. As part of the agreements, researchers from IIT Kharagpur and Ericsson will collaborate to develop novel AI and distributed compute tech for 6G. Leaders from IIT Kharagpur and Ericsson participated in discussing the developments and advancements for the future of networks and communications at the GS Sanyal School Telecommunications (GSSST).
Ericsson members from left: Rupa Deshmukh, Mikael Prtz, Kaushik Dey, Mikael Hook, Bo Hagerman,Magnus Frodigh, Director – Prof V. k Tewari, Deputy Director – Prof Amit Patra, Anil R Nair
Two key initiatives finalized by Ericsson and IIT were:
a) Compute offload and Resource Optimisation at edge compute: The project aims to explore resource optimization, dynamic observability and sustainable distributed and Edge computing technologies.
b) RL-based Beamforming for JCAS: Safe, Causal, and Verifiable: The project aims to explore causal AI methods for joint communication and sensing (JCAS).
AI and Compute Research is instrumental to Ericsson’s 6G networks as the compute offload needs to be managed dynamically at edge and the policies would primarily be driven by AI. These themes of research are well aligned with IIT Kharagpur and both organizations view this partnership as a way to push the boundaries of fundamental and applied research in the Radio domain.
Ericsson laid off 8,500 employees last year as part of its cost-cutting initiatives and reduced total costs by 12 billion Swedish crowns ($1.15 billion) in 2023.
Telecoms equipment suppliers are expecting a challenging 2024 as 5G equipment sales – a key source of revenue – are slowing in North America, while India, a growth market, may also see a slowdown. Ericsson’s fourth-quarter net sales fell 16% to 71.9 billion Swedish crowns ($6.89 billion), missing estimates of 76.64 billion.
Magnus Frodigh, Head of Ericsson Research, says: “This collaboration strengthens our R&D commitments in India and is pivotal to Radio, Compute and AI research. We are excited to partner with IIT Kharagpur and look forward to collaborative research in fundamental areas as well as translational research for our Future Network Platforms”. Dr Frodigh also presented Ericsson’s vision on 6G which aims to blend the physical and digital worlds enabling us to improve the quality of life by incorporating widespread Sensor-based communications between humans and machines through digital twins.
Nitin Bansal, Managing Director of Ericsson India said, “Ericsson is well poised to lead 6G innovation and we are making significant R&D investments in India in line with our commitment to the country. Given our 5G and technology leadership, our research initiatives are geared to provide affordable network platforms for ubiquitous connectivity all across the country.”
Virendra Kumar, Director at IIT Kharagpur, said, “In the commitment towards Digital India and making India the hub of technological innovation, this collaboration with Ericsson will be effective for next-generation technology significantly. 6G networks integrated with artificial intelligence will enable AI-powered applications to run faster and more efficiently. In the 6G era, IIT Kharagpur aims to contribute to Radio Access Technology and Network, Core Network, RF & Device Technologies, VLSI Design, Neuromorphic Signal Processing, Services and Applications.”
Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com
About IIT Kharagpur:
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT KGP) is a higher educational and academic institute, known globally for nurturing industry ready professionals for the world and is a pioneer institution to provide Excellence in Education, producing affordable technology innovations. Set up in 1951 in a detention camp as an Institute of National Importance, the Institute ranks among the top five institutes in India and is awarded, “The Institute of Eminence”, by the Govt. of India in 2019. The Institute is engaged in several international and national mission projects and ranks significantly in research output with about 20 academic departments, 12 schools, 18 centers (including 10 Centre of Excellence) and 2 academies with vast tree-laden campus, spreading over 2100 acres having 16,000+ students. Currently, it has about 750+ faculty, 850+ employees and 1240+ projects.
To know more visit: [http://www.iitkgp.ac.in/]
The India Wireless Infrastructure Report provides an update on the 5G radio access (RAN) developments in India, including geopolitics trends and technology. The report says that The RAN market in India is buoyant with a swelling local ecosystem that boasts big international ambitions.
Reliance Jio is rolling out 5G at a fast pace, followed by Bharti Airtel. As a result,1H23 RAN sales surged 300% YoY, and kept Ericsson in the driver’s seat, followed by Nokia and Samsung. Although the rollout pace has slowed down, 2023 is looking up, looks like the peak year, and we expect RAN equipment sales to more than double compared to last year, still driven by Jio and Airtel while BSNL will contribute with its 4G deployment.
“It’s a two-horse race, the near Jio / Airtel duopoly is quickly blanketing the country with 5G while the rest are struggling and catching up with 4G.” said Stéphane Téral, Chief Analyst at LightCounting Market Research and Founder of TÉRAL RESEARCH.
- 2024 is shaping up as a shift year from 5G network buildout to how to foster utilization and some midband FWA experiments.
- Due to the looming formation of a CSP duopoly, the looming merger of MTNL into BSNL, and Vodafone Idea’s unsustainable indebtment, our long-term forecast points to a lumpy RAN market. There is no surprise that India is a tough cellular market characterized by flat subscriber growth, ultralow ARPUs and low equipment average sales pricing.
- Open RAN is the brightest spot with a penetration of the total RAN market that will surpass 50% by 2028.
- At the same time, a mushrooming energetic local ecosystem is rising with great international ambitions enabled by strong ties between the U.S. and India.
Reliance Jio in talks with Tesla to deploy private 5G network for the latter’s manufacturing plant in India
Communications Minister: India to be major telecom technology exporter in 3 years with its 4G/5G technology stack
While announcing its FY23 earnings, UK telecom company, Vodafone Plc said the Group’s carrying value of investment in Indian listed firm Vodafone Idea (Vi) is Zero. Also, that the Group is recording no further losses related to Vi. The troubled-laden Vi is still in need of additional liquidity and plans to raise funds going forward. In its FY23 report, Vodafone Plc said, “VIL remains in need of additional liquidity support from its lenders and intends to raise additional funding.”
Vodafone seems to be backing away from Vi. The business needs more money, that Vodafone is certainly not willing to provide, and that zero valuation indicates that it will put no more effort into saving it. There are significant uncertainties in relation to Vi’s ability to make payments in relation to any remaining liabilities covered by the mechanism and no further cash payments are considered probable from the Group as at 31 March 2023, it added.
“VIL [Vodafone Idea Ltd] remains in need of additional liquidity support from its lenders and intends to raise additional funding. There are significant uncertainties in relation to VIL’s ability to make payments in relation to any remaining liabilities covered by the mechanism and no further cash payments are considered probable from the Group as at 31 March 2023,” Vodafone said, in the notes to its consolidated financial statements for the 2023 financial year.
Furthermore, Vodafone said, “the carrying value of the Group’s investment in VIL is nil and the Group is recording no further share of losses in respect of VIL.”
It should be noted that Vi is the only Indian telco that has NOT yet deployed 5G services. Since the launch of 5G last October, Reliance Jio’s 5G services have become available in more than 400 cities and towns, while Airtel’s 5G services can be accessed in more than 500. Jio plans to provide all-India 5G coverage by December, with Airtel aiming for blanket availability by March next year.
Recently, Vodafone Idea complained to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), accusing its rivals of predatory 5G pricing. Although it has been shedding customers for years, there can be little doubt that losses have accelerated since the launch of 5G. Vodafone Idea had lost about 7 million in the four months leading up to 5G’s launch in October last year. In the four months following the introduction of 5G services by Airtel and Jio, its losses soared to about 10 million.
Vodafone Idea is known to have a significant percentage of high-spending customers who have remained loyal to it. These customers typically show limited interest in lower tariffs, but many will have been drawn to 5G services available only from other telcos, with Vodafone Idea’s 5G plan nowhere close to fruition. Airtel and Jio, accordingly, are racing to build 5G networks and attract as many Vodafone Idea subscribers as possible.
When Vodafone and Idea Cellular entered into an merger agreement in 2017, the parties had agreed to a mechanism for payments between the Group and Vodafone Idea, pursuant to the difference between the crystallisation of certain identified contingent liabilitiesin relation to legal, regulatory, tax and other matters, and refunds relating to Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. Cash payments s or cash receipts relating to these matters must have been made or received by Vi before any amount becomes due from or owed to the Group.
Hence, any future future payments by the Group to VIL as a result of this agreement would only be made after satisfaction of this and other contractual conditions. Thereby, the UK-based telco said, “Vodafone Group’s potential exposure to liabilities within VIL is capped by the mechanism described above; consequently, contingent liabilities arising from litigation in India concerning operations of Vodafone India are not reported.”
Vodafone Plc’s potential exposure under this mechanism is capped at ₹64 billion n (€719 million) following payments made under this mechanism from Vodafone to VIL, in the year ended 31 March 2021, totalling ₹19 billion (€235 million).
In FY23, Vodafone Plc’s revenue increased by 0.3% to €45.7 billion driven by growth in Africa and higher equipment sales, offset by lower European service revenue and adverse exchange rate movements. While adjusted EBITDAal declined by 1.3% to €14.7 billion due to higher energy costs, and commercial underperformance in Germany.
Telecom partnerships, which generate 50-70% of overall revenues of OTT platforms [1.] in India, have failed to live up to expectations amid subscription pressure. As a result, many OTT services have adopted revenue sharing models, particularly for smaller platforms that struggle to attract viewership. Payments are currently based on the number of views a specific content receives. In a competitive scenario with high customer acquisition costs, OTT platforms have to offer significant discounts to be available on telco aggregators, limiting their revenues. Telcos are increasingly becoming resellers instead of using OTT bundles as acquisition tools.
Note 1. An over-the-top (OTT) application is any application or service that provides a product over the Internet and bypasses traditional distribution. •Services that come over the top are most typically related to media and communication and are generally, if not always, lower in cost than the traditional method of delivery
“In case of a fixed upfront fee, irrespective of the number of subscriber additions annually, a certain amount is paid to the OTT, providing more stable monetization. With a revenue sharing arrangement, the amount keeps fluctuating depending on customer churn,” said Sourjya Mohanty, chief operating officer at IN10 Media Network’s OTT service, EPIC ON. He said the company takes a fixed fee for all its deals that helps in sizeable monetization and has stayed away from revenue sharing arrangements that aren’t stable. Eyeballs for OTT content may also depend on whether the aggregator is investing enough in marketing, he added.
Amit Dhanuka, EVP at Hollywood streaming service Lionsgate, noted that telcos and OTT complement each other and form a competitive offer for the consumer when combined with data. “Telcos want to monetize data and increase data consumption, where OTT plays an important role. For an OTT platform, an offer coupled with data forms a competitive offering for the consumer and helps drive subscriptions,” Dhanuka said. However, several media industry experts believe that the revenue figures generated from telco partnerships don’t justify the costs of customer acquisition. “65-70% of the customer base of a telco like Jio is on cheap, pre-paid plans that do not really offer compelling OTT bundles. Technically, tying up with a telco brings in reach and data on user behaviour at a time that costs of customer acquisition are very high but revenue figures are not that great,” said an anonymous senior media analyst.
Revenue sharing models have arisen as telcos seek to reduce minimum guarantee payments and restructure partnerships with smaller platforms that don’t generate significant viewership. “A SonyLIV would be making far more revenue than say, an aha with the same telco. Also, OTTs have to offer steep discounts as part of these deals, which could range between 50-70% of their Arpus (average revenue per user). They don’t have a choice at the moment; India is a price-sensitive market and the only alternative to high spends on customer acquisition is telco deals,” said a senior executive at a streaming platform.
Nonetheless, for OTTs, telcos remain an essential distribution medium, especially for those platforms without a strong standalone proposition, said Neeraj Sharma, MD, communications, media, and technology at Accenture India. Increasingly, telcos are becoming resellers instead of using OTT bundles as acquisition tools, Sharma said. However, a key challenge is the limited scope for differentiation as similar content is available across telcos.
Despite being very late in rolling out 5G [1.], without TSDSI’s 5Gi ITU-R standard, India is ONCE AGAIN talking up 6G. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the new United Nations’ ITU area office and Innovation Centre on Wednesday and revealed the Bharat 6G Vision document and launched the 6G R&D Test Bed.
Note 1. Indian telecom service providers started to deploy 5G services in October 2022.
The Indian government’s Bharat 6G vision document was prepared by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G (TIG-6G), which was formed in November 2021 to build a roadmap and action plans for 6G in India, according to an official statement. Officials from Ministries/Departments, experts from research and development institutions, academia, standardisation bodies, telecom service providers, and business are among the members.
The 6G Test Bed will provide a platform for academic institutions, industry, start-ups, MSMEs, and industry, among others, to test and verify evolving ICT technologies.
The Bharat 6G Vision Document and 6G Test Bed, according to Centre, will create an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building, and faster technology adoption in India.
India PM Modi unveiling Bharat 6G vision document (Photo – PM Modi/YouTube)
“Today India is the fastest 5G rollout country in the world. In just 120 days, 5G has been rolled out in more than 125 cities. Today 5G services have reached about 350 districts of the country. Moreover, today we are talking about 6G only after six months of 5G rollout and this shows India’s confidence,” Modi said, according to a transcript of his address at the inauguration of a new ITU Area Office & Innovation Center in New Delhi. “Today we have also presented our vision document. This will become a major basis for 6G rollout in the next few years,” Modi added.
The Bharat 6G vision document foresees 6G services launched in India by the second or third quarter of 2024. That would enable India to move ahead from 5G services in just 2 short years. According to government sources, India’s 6G mission will be completed in two phases- 1] from 2023 to 2025 and 2] from 2026 to 2030.
Despite being very late to deploy 5G due to tardy licensed spectrum auctions, and with no known indigenous 5G network equipment vendors, India’s Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw believes the country’s indigenous 4G/5G technology stack is “now ready” and the country is poised to emerge as a major telecom technology exporter to the world in the coming three years. Speaking at the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2023, Vaishnaw, who is also the Minister for Railways, categorically said there is no program for the privatization of the national transporter.
The 5G services were launched on October 1, 2022, and within a span of 100 days have been rolled out in 200-plus cities. The sheer speed of rollout has been appreciated by industry leaders globally and is being described in many international forums as the “fastest deployment happening anywhere in the world,” he said. Vaishnaw highlighted the population-scale solutions being tested on India stack, across platforms such as payments, healthcare and identity. Each of these platforms is powerful in itself, but together become a dynamic force that can solve “any major problem in the world.”
The minister said India is set to emerge as a telecom technology exporter to the world in the next three years. “Today there are two Indian companies that are exporting to the world…telecom gear. In the coming three years, we will see India as a major telecom technology exporter in the world,” Vaishnaw said.
The minister talked of the rapid strides taken by India in developing its own 4G and 5G technology stack, a feat that caught the attention of the world. “The stack is now ready. It was initially tested for 1 million simultaneous calls, then for 5 million, and now it has been tested for 10 million simultaneous calls,” he said terming it a “phenomenal success.” At least 9-10 countries want to try it out, he added.
The minister gave a presentation outlining key initiatives under his three ministries of telecom, IT and Railways. For Railways, the focus is on transforming passenger experience, he said as he presented slides on how railways is redeveloping stations and terminals (New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Jaipur among others) with modern and futuristic design blueprint, and in the process creating new urban spaces while also preserving rich heritage.
The minister also gave an overview on the Vande Bharat train, the indigenous train protection system Kavach and progress on the bullet train project. To a question on the past talks around private freight rail corridors to boost logistics, the minister said “there is no program for Railway privatization.” “In a country where we have 1.35 billion people, 8 billion people moving every year on Railways, we thought that it is prudent to learn from the experience of others, and keep it within the Government set-up,” Vaishnaw said.
India’s Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (Photo Credit: PT)
To another query on dedicated freight corridor for food grains, the minister explained that when it comes to transport economics it is important not to divide assets between different applications.
“Today, the thought process has got very refined, and we are adding close to 4500 km of network every year, which amounts to 12 km of new tracks per day. So we have to increase the capacity to such a large extent that there is enough capacity for food grains, enough for coal, small parcels, and every kind of cargo,” he said. While Railways had been consistently losing market share over the last 50-60 years, it has started clawing it back.
“The lowest point was 27 per cent. I am happy to share that from the 27 per cent level, last year Railways increased to 28 per cent, this year we are doing close to 29-29.5 per cent, and in the coming 2-3 years Railways will go towards 35 per cent market share,” he added.
People will choose between transport via road, railways or air based on the distance to be travelled, and “there will be enough for everybody”. “The country will have enough for everybody, is my point. Up to 250 kilometres road is very good, 250 to 1000 kilometres railway is the ideal mode. Beyond 1000 kilometres air will be the ideal mode. So there will be enough for everybody,” the minister said.
Even as India’s long delayed 5G network roll-out continues at a rapid pace, the government has outlined plans for expanding 5G’s use beyond consumers and enterprises. In her Budget speech, Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman called for the development of new applications and business models, which will also create more jobs. There are plans to set up 100 labs in engineering institutions to develop applications and use-cases for 5G services. It should be noted that GE setup India’s first 5G innovation lab in July 2022.
“The labs will cover, among others, applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and health care applications,” Sitharaman said in her speech.
“The proposed outlay for 5G labs will further push the development of use-cases and the set-up of private networks in India. The research across universities will push innovations and job opportunities,” said Peeyush Vaish, partner and telecom sector leader, Deloitte India.
The speed at which commercial 5G networks have rolled out, since the official launch in October, has been impressive. India’s 5G auctions, which culminated in the second half of 2022, saw Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vi acquire 5G spectrum for commercial networks, while Adani Data Networks is expected to launch enterprise 5G services with the spectrum it bought. In particular, Reliance Jio confirms it has enabled 5G networks (SA) in 225 cities across India. Airtel doesn’t give a confirmed count of its 5G NSA network service coverage, but continues to add cities every day. Vi is yet to launch 5G services.
“We believe 5G will have country-specific use-cases and India is no different. In fact, India can set an example for the rest of the world,” said Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint Research.
“5G networks and devices without use-cases is akin to highways without places to travel to,” said Muralikrishnan B, president, Xiaomi India.
Test labs for 5G applications provide a sandboxed environment for testing use-case prototypes. Indian telecom equipment company Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) is working closely with tech giant Qualcomm and has a 5G lab which focuses on rural mobile broadband.
GE’s 5G Innovation Lab in India. Top: Jan Makela, president and CEO of imaging at GE Healthcare (center), cuts the ribbon to open the 5G Innovation Lab. Second from left: Girish Raghavan, vice president of engineering for GE Healthcare.
Bipin Sapra, Tax & Regulatory Services, Partner, EY India said that the government had taken a big leap to embrace 5G much more swiftly by setting up these labs. He agreed that they would indeed further boost employment and business opportunities in the country. “Amrit Kaal focuses on being a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with one of the primary visions of growth and job creation. India has made remarkable advancements in the digital realm and various new initiatives have been adopted to improve the lives of people, accelerating the societal benefits of these technologies,’‘ added Mr. Sapra.
“The setting up of 100 labs to develop 5G will better network connectivity in every nook and corner of the country and further help more sectors and communities to access the benefits of 5G networks,” said Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, vice-president – India and MENA at HMD Global.
Piyush N. Singh, Senior Managing Director, Accenture, said setting up new centers of excellence for AI and 5G labs for developing apps would help democratize AI and push for wider adoption of 5G services. “It will be important for the private sector ecosystem to work closely with the government to realize the digital future of India,’‘ Mr. Singh said.
India’s Tech Mahindra and Microsoft have announced a collaboration to enable cloud-powered 5G SA core network for telecom operators worldwide. As a part of the collaboration, Tech Mahindra will provide its expertise, comprehensive solutions, and managed services offerings to telecom operators for their 5G SA Core networks. Tech Mahindra will provide its expertise like “Network Cloudification as a Service” and AIOps to global telecom operators for their 5G Core networks. AIOps will help operators combine big data and machine learning to automate network operations processes, including anomaly detection, predicting fault and performance issues.
CP Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra said, “Today, it is critical to leverage next-gen technologies to build relevant and resilient services and solutions for customers across the globe. At Tech Mahindra, we are well-positioned to help telecom operators realize the full potential of their networks and provide innovative and agile services to their customers while also helping them meet their ESG commitments. Our collaboration with Microsoft will further strengthen our service portfolio by combining our deep expertise across the telecom industry with Microsoft Cloud. Further to this collaboration, Tech Mahindra and Microsoft will work together to help telecom operators simplify and transform their operations in order to build green and secure networks by leveraging the power of cloud technologies. At Tech Mahindra, we are well-positioned to help telecom operators realize the full potential of their networks and provide innovative and agile services to their customers while also helping them meet their ESG commitments.”
Tech Mahindra believes the 5G core network will enable use cases such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), IoT (Internet of Things, and edge computing. Of course, 5G URLLC performance requirements, especially ultra low latency, in the RAN and core network must be met first, which they are not at this time. The company will leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud for its sustainability solution iSustain to measure and monitor KPIs across all three aspects of E, S & G. iSustain will help operators address the challenge of measuring and reducing carbon emissions from the networks while meeting demands of the countless energy intense digital technologies, from AR/ VR to IoT.
Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said, “Harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure, telecom operators can provide more flexibility and scalability, save infrastructure cost, use AI to automate operations, and differentiate their customer offerings. The collaboration between Tech Mahindra and Microsoft will help our customers build green and secured networks with seamless experiences across the Microsoft cloud and the operator’s network. Azure provides operators with cloud solutions that enable them to create new revenue generating services and move existing services to the cloud. Through our collaboration with Tech Mahindra, Microsoft will further help telcos overcome challenges, drive innovation and build green and secured networks that provide seamless experiences by leveraging the power of Microsoft Cloud for Operators.”
The partnership is in line with Tech Mahindra’s NXT.NOWTM framework, which aims to enhance the ‘Human Centric Experience’, Tech Mahindra focuses on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of the customer.
About Tech Mahindra:
Tech Mahindra offers innovative and customer-centric digital experiences, enabling enterprises, associates and the society to Rise. We are a USD 6 billion organization with 163,000+ professionals across 90 countries helping 1279 global customers, including Fortune 500 companies. We are focused on leveraging next-generation technologies including 5G, Blockchain, Metaverse, Quantum Computing, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and more, to enable end-to-end digital transformation for global customers. Tech Mahindra is the only Indian company in the world to receive the HRH The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta Seal for its commitment to creating a sustainable future. We are the fastest growing brand in ‘brand strength’ and amongst the top 7 IT brands globally. With the NXT.NOWTM framework, Tech Mahindra aims to enhance ‘Human Centric Experience’ for our ecosystem and drive collaborative disruption with synergies arising from a robust portfolio of companies. Tech Mahindra aims at delivering tomorrow’s experiences today and believes that the ‘Future is Now.’
Adani Group, the newest entrant in India’s telecom space, is looking to launch private 5G services for enterprises in 2023. The conglomerate also announced that it would be launching consumer apps this year as part of its digital strategy.
Addressing his employees in the New Year, Chairman Gautam Adani said they will invest in expanding the network of data centers, building AI-ML and industrial cloud capabilities, along with rolling out 5G services and launching B2C apps.
“While we are fully invested in building India, it is an opportune time to contribute to nation-building outside India. All of these are big ticket, independent yet mutually connected digital opportunities that are backed by our adjacency in the energy business,” he said.
The Gujarat-based conglomerate surprised industry incumbents when it took part in 5G auctions in 2022. While Adani has not purchased spectrum across all 5G bands and thus cannot provide consumer telephony, the conglomerate parted with Rs. 212 crore to buy 400MHz spectrum in the mm-wave band. Adani is gunning to provide private network services to enterprises, including its own.
Reliance Jio has also indicated that private 5G will be a key avenue for monetization for the operator in the future. Chairman Mukesh Ambani has committed Rs 2 trillion investment for rolling out a 5G network across the country by December 2023, according to a recent report by the Press Trust of India.
Other entities, such as IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), could also participate in the private 5G network market. They are awaiting spectrum assignment rules from the DoT and TRAI, who are still deliberating the spectrum bands, which will be given to enterprises for private network use through administrative allocation.
As 2022 nears an end, India based telcos like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have deployed about 33,000 base stations for 5G services. Sources in India’s Department of Telecommunications told businessline that the telcos deployed around 10,000 base stations in December, taking the cumulative number of base stations deployed for 5G services to about 33,000.
[For another report on 5G base stations in India see; 20,980 base stations installed for 5G, about 2,500 being set up per week, Government tells Rajya Sabha | Headlines (devdiscourse.com)]
Telecom operators commenced deploying the 5G network after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 5G services on October 2. Only Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have commenced 5G capex, as debt-laden Vodafone Idea is still trying to raise additional funds to commence capital expenditure for its 5G network.
Quoting the Ministry of Communications report to the Rajya Sabha, businessline reported last week that the telcos had deployed about 21,000 base stations for 5G services till November 26. According to senior DoT officials, the telcos have added more than 10,000 additional base stations to that number.
Since operators need to deploy 2–6 base stations per tower, the number of telecom towers for 5G has not increased substantially in the past three months. The two operators alone would have deployed 3,000 to 4,000 telecom towers for 5G services.
also reported that Reliance Jio is deploying base stations almost three times faster than Airtel. This is because Reliance has to set up a standalone 5G network, which requires a larger number of 5G radios in comparison to Airtel’s non-standalone network.
While telcos have commenced deploying 5G towers in the majority of Indian States, the national capital Delhi is experiencing the fastest deployment of 5G services. Almost a third of all the base stations deployed are located in Delhi. Therefore, users in Delhi NCR will experience the best 5G services.