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Ericsson vows commitment to India’s manufacturing prowess for production of 5G infrastructure

Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson on Wednesday pledged to deepen its commitment to India’s manufacturing mettle saying the company is ready for local production of 5G infrastructure, just as it has done in the past for other technology products. The countdown for 5G services has begun in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market after China, and large Indian telcos are gearing up for the roll-out of services, supercharged by ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities.

According to Ericsson, consumer 5G readiness is high in India, and a recent survey has shown that over 100 million users in India with 5G-ready smartphones want to upgrade to next generation network in 2023. Many of them are even willing to shell out up to 45 per cent premium for rich experiences and applications.

“We are considered as a trusted partner globally. We have been producing in India and we will continue to do domestic production for 5G infrastructure as well,” Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India, said during a virtual briefing.

On whether the local factory will be able to meet demand coming from Indian telecom operators for 5G deployment, particularly given the global supply crunch and component shortages, Bansal observed that Ericsson started manufacturing in India a long time ago.

“Our strategy is that we should build in India, for India…that does need scaling up, and we are scaling up our production capabilities with our partner Jabil in Pune, so that work is ongoing,” Bansal informed.

He added: “We are very proud of…when it comes to 4G…we have always said we deliver close to 100 per cent requirements in India, from India. So we will continue to increase our capabilities with our partner and ensure that we hit that milestone for 5G as well.”

It is a journey the company has already embarked on with the investments it infused as part of production linked incentive scheme with the partner.

To a question on whether the financial troubles of Vodafone Idea has hit the telcos’ 5G equipment purchases, deployment or dues payment, Bansal declined to make operator specific comments.

“We are engaged with all the telecom service providers and the business fundamentals of the engagement and also the timeline is something that obviously is work-in-progress…we are engaged with all telecom service providers. And yes, we continue working with everyone,” he said.

Bharti Airtel, last month, announced it has signed 5G network agreements with gear makers Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to commence deployment.

With telcos in the midst of 5G deployments, Indian market is poised for dramatically improved speeds and lag-free videos, where applications would range from connected ambulances to cloud gaming and even augmented reality driven tryouts for shoppers, say experts.

The fifth generation or 5G network would allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to mobile and other devices in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas, or at mega events) and support a million devices in a square kilometre.

Superfast speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G), low latency connectivity, enabling billions of connected devices to share data in real time, promises to unleash more-immersive entertainment, 3D hologram calling, metaverse experiences, and redefine educational applications, even the manner in which people play or watch sports.

While a booming market for smartphones has added to India’s sheen globally, New Delhi’s policy push in the electronics sector has nudged large suppliers to expand in India, and driven new players to set up base.

After tasting success in local smartphone manufacturing, India is moving swiftly to replicate the move with other parts of electronics ecosystem, as it makes solid efforts to cut reliance on imports.

The government has unveiled attractive incentives to spur local production and export of telecom and networking equipment as well as IT products, and a Rs 76,000 crore semiconductor scheme was announced late last year to boost local manufacturing of chips and display panels.

To woo global giants such as Intel and TSMC, the Centre, last week, sweetened the semiconductor package further by increasing the fiscal support for new facilities (across technology nodes) to cover 50 per cent of project cost. PTI MBI HVA

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