5G Internet is on its way. Is India ready?

Okay, so when is 5G coming?

South Korea will probably be world’s first country to roll out 5G on a trial basis in 2017. SK Telecom, the country’s largest mobile operator, is currently working with Samsung Electronics, Nokia, Intel, and Ericsson to set up the necessary infrastructure for the network.

In the US, Mobile service provider Verizon and AT&T is expected to start rolling out commercial 5G networks in 2018.

Australian mobile network Telstra has targeted 2020 as the year for the commercial launch of its 5G network.

Turkey, Japan, and China are also planning for 5G rollout by 2020.

The European Union (EU) is targeting to roll out 5G in at least one city of every member country by 2020, and across entire EU by 2025 along with free public Wi-Fi for all EU citizens.

When will India get 5G?

India got its first mobile network 15 years after the developed countries; we got 2G and 3G about a decade later after they became common in US and Europe. For 4G LTE, India got it in less than five years after its first global launch.

After playing catching-up for a long time, the Indian government wants the country to be an early adopter of 5G, which is expected to be commercially rolled out by early-2020s.

A research team commissioned by the government to work on 5G technology has already filed 100 patents so far. In the communications industry, nearly 1/5th of the cost of a telecom equipment is the royalty paid to the patent holder. So, India is developing its equipment, which will drastically reduce the cost of operating a 5G network.

India and Israel have also agreed to work jointly on development of the fifth generation (5G) telecom technologies.

Apart from the government, private stakeholders, such as Reliance Jio and Tata Teleservices, are also partnering in the effort, by lending their manpower and equipment.

Among the current private-sector providers, Reliance Jio has the potential to bring the first 5G services to India. Their current network infrastructure already uses the latest LTE technology, and can be seamlessly upgraded to 5G and beyond, Mukesh Ambani has stated.

Airtel, India’s largest mobile service provider, has also announced a partnership with China Mobile (China’s largest mobile service provider), to work jointly on the research and development of 5G networks in India.

Current Challenges

Although India is well connected with 2G networks, the 3G/4G coverage in India has not reached small towns and villages.

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2G coverage in India (Credit: Opensignal.com)

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3G/4G coverage in India (Credit: Opensignal.com)

So even though 5G may launch in tier-1 metro cities, connecting all of India with high-speed 5G network is miles away. However, in today’s competitive business scenario, the day is not far when India will have a world-class high-speed mobile network to be proud of.

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Manas Saha

Manas is a software engineer who is also a Travel addict, Technology and News enthusiast, and has deep interest in Science, Photography and Movies.

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