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5G In India: How Will It Affect Our Daily Lives? Here Are The Sectors That’ll Benefit The Most

India is ready to enter the 5G race as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch the next-gen network services in the country as part of the annual Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) on October 1 in New Delhi. Now, we all know that 5G will bring notably faster Internet speeds than the current-gen 4G or earlier iterations. However, there are way bigger impacts that added bandwidth will bring to the table — including much-needed enhancements in sectors such as education, healthcare, and of course, new job openings. 

PM Modi has unveiled a target of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25. 5G is expected to play a major role in that, with a cumulative economic impact of $1 trillion by 2035. Experts claim that 5G could deliver an additional GDP of $150 billion for the country, between 2025-40. 

After China, India is the second-largest telecom market in the world, with over 117 crore subscribers. 5G will not only help the 98 percent of the Indian population that already access telecommunications through smartphones, but it will also help establish a connected ecosystem that will enable better services in smart cities, electric transportation, and more.

How will 5G impact our daily lives?

Before we get into the bigger impact of 5G, it’s important we understand how it will affect us — the consumers — first. 

As per American network operator Verizon, 5G can offer data transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps. Compare that to 4G’s top speed of 100Mbps or 3G’s 2Mbps, and you can already start imagining the possibilities. 

During Vodafone Idea’s 5G trials in Pune earlier this year, a peak download speed of 5.92Gbps was achieved — the highest among other Indian telcos, who also saw impressive download speeds.

So, how will this increased speed help us? Here’s what’s expected:

> In HD format, a three-hour-long movie can be downloaded within 1-2 seconds on 5G. This would currently take 10-15 minutes on 4G.

> When streaming YouTube videos or on OTT platforms, there should ideally be no buffering at all. 

> Call drops should be a thing of the past.

> Video calls will enjoy increased connectivity, with notably reduced lagging. Quality of video calls is expected to be noticeably better.

> Messages and data should be transferred instantaneously, coming at par with broadband speeds. 

> Connecting smart devices, home appliances, or smart cars will be instantaneous.

> During incidents of natural disasters, emergency services will be able to access much better connectivity and communications should be enhanced. Emergency tracking services will also be able to make better use of 5G speeds. 

It should be noted that to truly access 5G speeds, you’d need a 5G-supporting phone. Most phones we use nowadays may not be 5G ready (especially if the handset you use is more than two years old). So, it’s best to check the 5G connectivity on your phone and switch to a 5G-compatible one. Brands will be launching more 5G smartphones, with Jio already rumoured to launch a super-affordable Jio Phone 5G at the Indian Mobile Congress.

ALSO READ: 5G: What The Next-Gen Network Experience Is Like Around The World

Sectors that will benefit from 5G

Now, a quick look at some sectors that will reap the most benefits of 5G’s advent.

Manufacturing: As mentioned earlier, more 5G phones and other 5G-ready devices will be needed, which is expected to bring forth a much-needed boom in the manufacturing sector. As a domino effect, even the retail sector will see a boost from 5G devices and 5G applications. Additionally, as more products get sold, the servicing and resale industries will also see a boost. 

The Centre is also looking to switch to domestic manufacturing fully. Samsung has its largest mobile factory in the world in Noida. Even Apple’s latest iPhone 14 series is being produced in India. About 15 crore smartphones are sold in India annually. Major mobile equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola have establishments in India. It’s safe to speculate that 5G will only help boost the phone manufacturing sector in India. 

Heavy industries: The advanced network connectivity of 5G will result in more remote-controlled systems in factories, which can provide much-needed safety in hazardous environments. Factories should also see massive automation which will bring in increased productivity, efficiency, and control. 

Healthcare: Medical services will become much more efficient, thanks to the ready availability of digital health records anytime, anywhere. Remote health monitoring may also help in increasing the reach of diagnostic services. Telemedicine will see a massive boost as video calls will become much smoother. 

Education: While the pandemic-induced lockdowns showed how essential and effective remote learning and online classrooms can be when needed, 5G connectivity can lead to even easier access to world-class courses from anywhere. 

Lifestyle: 5G will enable a smoother access to the much-talked-about metaverse via AR/VR devices. As mentioned earlier, downloading and data sharing speeds will increase. For online gamers, low latency will result in better communications while playing and an overall smoother experience.

Jobs: The advent of 5G technology will lead to new job openings in network operations, maintenance, and other such sectors. Web3, metaverse, and online gaming industries are expected to see exponential growth. Also, multiple new startups are expected to crop up to focus on the emerging 5G technologies, leading to even more job options. 

What challenges does the 5G rollout face in India?

As of now, the need for more numbers of affordable 5G phones is the biggest concern. As of now, most of the phones that are 5G ready are priced around the Rs 20,000 mark, which might not be problematic for urban employees, but for rural citizens, the amount could pose a challenge. 

Tariff charges could be higher, at least at the onset. Price hikes were seen when 3G was introduced in India, and the same was seen when 4G rolled out. So, it’s safe to speculate that 5G services could be slightly costlier now, however, that is expected to temper down in the coming months. 

For now, 5G will only be introduced in a select few cities across India. For proper countrywide implementation, a timeline of up to two years is largely expected.  

Lastly, the 5G network will need several small cell stations to be set up. While they are not as huge as 4G towers and can be installed on a regular lamppost or rooftops, it will still take some time for telcos to properly set up such 5G cell stations across locations. 

It should be noted that we will get a better idea of the 5G use experience as the service gets rolled out officially.

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