The steering committee set up to suggest a road map for adoption of 5G submitted its recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Thursday. The committee, chaired by Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus AJ Paulraj, proposed that the key norms on regulatory matters are promulgated by March 2019 in order to facilitate early deployment of 5G. The committee said it expects the commercial rollout of 5G in India by 2020.
However, the committee also pointed out the conflicting considerations faced by early adoption of 5G. “In India, 5G deployment strategy faces conflicting considerations. If we go for early adoption, the equipment is likely to be more expensive and being early, it will also be glitchy needing costly maturing. On the other hand, early adoption will fast track the country’s embrace of 5G’s benefits and increase opportunities to develop innovative use cases that support Indian needs,” it said in the report, calling for a study to address the issue.
“Globally, 5G technologies will start entering service beginning 2019 and is expected to advance to a full range of services by 2024. By acting early to embrace the 5G opportunity, India can accelerate the 5G dividends and potentially also become an innovator in 5G applications,” it added.
The panel also gave wide-ranging recommendations to drive India’s 5G adoption entailing areas like spectrum policy, regulatory policy, education and standards. The economic impact of 5G is expected to be over $1 trillion, the report said.
Last year, the Centre had constituted a high-level forum on 5G technology, comprising secretaries of ministries of communications, information technology, and science & technology, along with representatives of the industry and academia, with an aim to have push participation in the process of defining global standards for the next generation of wireless technology.
The committee noted that the vendor ecosystem for 5G was maturing. “Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE have production ready equipment in trials based on 5G-NR standard. China Telecom is doing a pilot deployment in six cities ahead of the full 5G commercial launch in 2020,” it said, adding that deployment of 5G in the country should be classified into three phases based on the technologies and the use cases.
“It is also important to note that even after the entry of 5G into the Indian networks, the earlier generation mobile technologies – 2G, 3G and 4G, will continue to remain in use and it may take 10 or more years to phase out,” the committee said in its report.