5G networks are a new type of cellular communications technology that supports higher data rates and more devices than current 4G networks. They use a combination of additional high-frequency radio waves and fixed antennas to increase capacity and speed.
India has one of the fastest 5G rollouts in the world, according to Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm. He expects the country to be leading the way by 2023.
The Future of Telecom
Telecommunications has a long history of delivering services to people across the world. This includes phone and broadband connections, cable and satellite networks, and Internet service providers (ISPs).
Today’s telcos have the opportunity to take the lead in digitization. By leveraging their vast reserve of customer data, they can deliver more personalized messaging and tailored product recommendations to meet evolving consumer demands.
However, telecom companies must be ready to adapt to the newest technologies. A new wave of 5G will bring a radical change to the sector, and Indian telecoms will need to reinvent themselves.
Telecom leaders who can recognize the magnitude of change, act fast and with conviction to become the catalysts of the future will shape the next wave of change. By redesigning their core network and enabling specialized growth engines, they can deliver more customized network services to meet changing customer demands.
Reliance Jio has one of the fastest 5G rollouts in the world and plans to have it available in every town, taluka and tehsil by December 2023. It’s also working on a new 5G smartphone, which could be among the least expensive ones in the country.
The company plans to expand its network of ultra high-speed telephony to 331 cities across the country, with an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore. In addition, it has announced 5G-powered Wi-Fi services in high-footfall areas such as educational institutions, religious places, railway stations, bus stands, and commercial hubs to bring ultra-fast connectivity to users who don’t have access to a 5G device yet.
In October 2018, Jio launched the beta trial of its 5G service in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi. The company has partnered with Nordic vendors Ericsson and Nokia for deployment of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions, as well as E-band microwave mobile transport equipment.
Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, has one of the fastest 5G rollouts in the world. The company aims to have the technology available in all major cities by 2024.
The telco plans to launch a multipronged approach for future business growth, Managing Director and Chief Executive Gopal Vittal said. These include improving the network experience in 150 cities, expanding coverage into 60,000 new villages and 40,000 community clusters, stepping up investments in its digital businesses of CPaaS, IoT and cloud and reducing network running costs at 80,000 high-cost sites.
Airtel also announced 5G Plus service in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri and Nagpur. In addition, the company is rolling out its 5G services in Varanasi as well. Currently, the service is available at Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport and select locations like Benaras Hindu University (BHU), Ghatt Road, Adampur, Beniya Bagh Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Rajghat, Sarnath, Thateri Bazaar and other places in Varanasi.
India is aiming to record one of the fastest 5G rollouts in the world, which will be three times faster than 4G, Nokia India Chief Marketing Officer Amit Marwah said. He added that the country has a ‘5G-ready ecosystem’ and telecom manufacturing in the country is becoming robust, backed by the PLI scheme.
In addition, Finland’s telecom gear maker has secured a major 5G contract with India’s largest operator Reliance Jio to supply a network across the country. The company will provide 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its AirScale portfolio, which includes base stations and high-capacity antennas.
The deal also allows Jio to build a standalone network that will interwork with its existing 4G service. It will enable Jio to deliver advanced 5G services such as massive machine-to-machine communications and network slicing, along with ultra-low latency.
Meanwhile, Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson is lagging behind China Mobile in its latest round of 5G deals, having lost ground to the Chinese vendor in a series of tenders. But it has lobbied Sweden’s trade minister to reverse a ban on Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G market.