5G Networks in India

5G is expected to create a cumulative economic impact of $1 trillion in India by 2035 as per the government forecasts.

What is 5G?

  • 5G is the next generation cellular technology to provide faster and more reliable communication with ultra-low latency (Latency is the amount of time data takes to travel between its source and destination).
  • With 5G the peak network data speeds are expected to be in the range of 2-20 Gigabit per second (Gbps) contrast to 4G link speeds in averaging 6-7 Megabit per second (Mbps) in India and 25 Mbps in advanced countries.
  • With 5G technology, consumers will be able to download data-heavy content in just a few seconds.
  • 5G is expected to drive emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine communications and a large range of applications and services, including driverless vehicles, telesurgery and real-time data analytics because of the ultra-low latency.

Spectrum Auction and Apprehensions

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that the entire available spectrum be put up for auction. The total base price a total of 8,644 MHz of spectrum on sale is about Rs 4.9 lakh crore.
  • The industry is expressing concerns over the high base price. Further, the financial health of the sector is stressed with amid intense competition and the recent phase of consolidation. The industry s cumulative debt is pegged at around Rs 7 lakh crore.
  • The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) pointed out that 5G is overpriced by at least 30% to 40% in India when compared to international standards and auction in other markets such as South Korea and the U.S where 5G services have been launched commercially.
  • The high reserve price for the 700 MHz spectrum, which is used to offer high-speed 4G services saw no takers in the previous auctions. Later the TRAI recommended the prices be reduced by about 43%.
  • 5G will require a fundamental change to the core architecture of the communication system which requires an additional investment of $60-70 billion to seamlessly implement 5G networks.

The government plans to start 5G trials in the next 100 days or by mid-September.

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