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The Scope for 5G Innovation in India

Speck permits telecom organizations to direct 5G innovation

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across all industries have faced a great number of challenges. Thanks to the efficiency of the telecom industry, the world’s economy did not come to a halt during this time of crisis. In India, telecom plays a major role in connecting the population of over 1.3 billion people. Quite naturally, the scope for 5G innovation in the country is rather massive.

Scope for 5G Innovation in India

In the “new normal”, technology is playing a crucial role in helping businesses operate effectively within a remote workplace setup. In this context, connectivity has become a crucial aspect in providing organisations with collaboration opportunities. While the telecom industry has contributed as the enabler of connectivity, it now has to go beyond its current functionality and offer valuable services and customised experiences.

It is a pivotal phase for the telecom industry as it enters the ear of innovation. We are most likely to experience better, more secure and personalised services across all industries as the connectivity evolves with the help of technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR), and Extended Reality (XR).

The 5G Opportunity: Indian Perspective

As the aforementioned technologies become more accessible to organisations, especially in the telecom industry, 5G is expected to bring a massive change in the telecommunication landscape, yielding great economic opportunities in the next few years. According to a 2020 survey report by KPMG International, the augmentation of enterprise 5G will impact almost every major sector, with the potential to unlock 4.8 trillion US dollars worldwide through known use-cases.

KPMG India, in association with IMC and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) 2019, predicted that India Inc. could unlock 48.69 billion US dollars through the deployment of 5G in the next four years. Also, it estimated that 5G would have a contribution of 0.35 to 0.50 per cent to annual GDP.

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in India has recently allowed the mobile operators to conduct 5G trials in the country with the equipment manufacturers they have partnered with, except Chinese companies. The Central government permits telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, MTNL, and Vodafone Idea to conduct trials for 5G technology uses and applications.

In its initial days, 5G received a lot of attention from the media. However, manufacturers and innovators have only recently begun adopting the technology, enabling it for mass adoption. 5G is all set to make an impact in the Indian market by powering machine-to-machine communication and the demand-driven supply chain.

The adoption of 5G technology will offer further benefits such as higher capacity, lower latency and increased bandwidth (almost 10 times faster than 4G). Moreover, it will provide greater flexibility, cost reduction and scope for developing viable apps which cannot be used with the currently available wireless technology. In other words, 5G can help us build a more efficient and smart-connected world.

In this context, it is important to highlight that even though there have been some great innovations in the field of AI in recent years, the lack of significant bandwidth has been affecting the performance of those AI applications. With 5G, AI will get the necessary bandwidth support.

Strategies to Deploy 5G

The telecom industry can adopt one of two strategies for 5G deployment, based on their level of investment and the respective use cases of their network.

1. 5G standalone (SA):

This process involves the deployment of new radio and 3GPP-standardised 5G Core that is independent of the 4G network.

2. 5G non-standalone (NSA):

This process involves an add-on to the existing 4G network with 5G radio based stations and 4G evolved packet core (EPC) for the 5G technology deployment.

The telecom sectors across the world, especially in the US, Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, are using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) strategy to get a hold of the market share. This is because all the major businesses want to capitalise on the opportunity by being one of the first few to adopt 5G technology. Moreover, 5G NSA deployments offer a shorter turnaround time for a market launch since it depends on the existing 4G infrastructure and SDN/NFV orchestration.

On the other hand, some operators have raised objections while claiming that 5G NSA would disrupt the deployment of the standalone mode of the network. 5G SA implementation requires Evolved Packet Core (EPC) architecture for signalling, as well as information transfer. It will also support major features like network slicing and edge computing.

China Willing to Aid India in 5G Trials

Wang Xiaojian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, reportedly stated that China expresses concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies are barred from conducting 5G trials with Indian telecom service providers in India. He also added that relevant Chinese companies have been operating in the Indian market for years, offering massive job opportunities and contributing to the infrastructure construction in telecommunications in India.

Chinese spokesperson also reportedly said that excluding Chinese telecommunication companies from the trials will affect their legitimate rights and interests and hamper the improvement of the Indian business environment, which, according to Xiaojian, is not conducive to innovation and development of related Indian industries and paraphrasing tool.

According to Xiaojian, China hopes that India could do more to improve mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries and offer an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory investment and business environment for market participants from all nations, including China to operate and invest in India.

What Are We Likely to See in the Coming Days?

The Department of Telecommunication is likely to hold spectrum auctions for 5G networks in 2021. Moreover, the DoT has allocated 224 crore rupees (over 30 million USD) to set up an “Indigenous 5G test Bed” in India by 2021.

The challenges in the deployment of end-to-end 5G networks include infrastructure investments, high fees of the spectrum, existing fibre backhaul capacity and security of open-stack platforms and plagiarism checker. In the meantime, KPMG India has been involved in several 5G initiatives with the government and industry entities, including NASSCOM, COAI, DoT, IMC and more.

There’s no denying that the deployment of 5G will disrupt our day-to-day lives and transform sectors with a wide range of applications and use cases. During the initial stages of 5G adoption in India, sectors such as energy and utilities, manufacturing, public safety, smart cities, and transport will get the most amount of attention.

Author bio:

Ravi Prakasham is a networking engineering who is currently employed at an MNC in Australia. He is also a part of the team of experts at, where he offers assignment help to students on request. He loves to learn new things about the world of technology.

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