As per a recent report, India may not have 5G connections for at least the next 5 years. The reports suggest that one of the main reasons for this delay in the 5G Spectrum implementation is the poor condition of the telecom industry. Major players, including Airtel & Vodafone, Idea are affected by heavy losses while Reliance Jio is the only one making profits.
One of the most awaited technologies of the world right now is a 5G network. India’s major telecom operations are conducted on 4G networks, while some people are still enjoying a 3G network service. However, it is surprising to learn that many countries around the world, including our neighbour, China, has already started implementing 5G spectrums in their nation.
What’s Causing the Delay?
Some sources suggest that Indians may not get to enjoy 5G network services for 5 coming years. Why? Well, one of the major reasons is money. The telecom industry is under a debt of Rs. 7.5 lakh crore and except for Reliance Jio, every telecom player is making heavy losses.
In a conversation with Economic Times, Rajan S Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said “We will push out 5G for at least five years. That’s the operator perspective.”
COAI is the representative organization for private telecom players in India, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea & hardware makers like Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco, and Ciena.
Highlighting the money matter, he said “Pricing originally started as a problem for the industry. With the Rs 492 crore for 1 MHz, most operators said it was not a viable proposition, given the debt and international prices.”
The Insufficient Capacity Problem
Further, told about how there is insufficient availability of the quantum of 5G spectrum saying “Originally, TRAI had said 300 MHz of the spectrum was available. Others were putting their hands up in the same spectrum. With 25Mhz to space and 100Mhz to defence, 125 MHz is going away.” Thus, of the total 300 MHz, only 175 remain to be used commercially by telecom operators.
At first, TRAI had allocated the 330MHz to 3600MHz spectrum, specifically for 5G along with radio waves to be allocated in the blocks of 20 MHz each. Looking at the current pricing of the government, a spectrum of 100 MHz would cost Rs 50,000 crores to the operators.
11% Indian Subscriptions to turn 5G by 2025.
Another report by the Economic Times quoted Sony Ericson to have reported: “The next-generation mobile services on the 5G technology are expected to become available in India for subscription in 2022.”
Sony Ericson’s Annual Mobility Report projected that by the year 2025, 11% of India’s telecom subscriptions will turn into 5G.
The report reads “As the transformation toward more advanced technologies continues in India, LTE is forecast to represent 80 per cent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2025. 5G subscriptions are expected to become available in 2022 and will represent 11 per cent of mobile subscriptions at the end of 2025.”
While the report believes only 11% of India’s connections to turn 5G, it believes that 5G will cover 65% of the global telecom subscriptions. This highlights how we lag in technology on a global comparative scale.
The report further said that by 2025, India’s per smartphone internet traffic will increase to 24GB per month from the current 13.6 GB per month. It also includes Nepal and Bhutan.
Other Countries with 5G
While India struggles to implement a 5G network, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States had already become the first 4 nations to have 5G. These nations have emerged as 5G leaders because of many telecom operators in the country have deployed advanced network connections, while the smartphone manufacturers in these countries are entertaining consumers with 5G phones.
Apart from this, China has also recently implemented a 5G network in many cities across the country in 2019 only. Further, countries like Singapore, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are already on their way to implement 5G network connections.
While many countries are already making progress in the telecommunication industry, Indian telecom grounds sound less-friendly for the operators. With companies making already high-end losses amidst heavy debts, it seems unlikely that anyone other than Mukesh Ambani’s Jio has the potential to invest in the 5G spectrum. Does this mean that we need to wait for another half of the decade to have 5G services? Maybe India will have 5G when the US, UK and other countries will be selling 6G spectrums.
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Main Source: Economic Times