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‘Right time to launch 5G services in India’

While it may not have been the first to launch 5G services, experts believe that India poses a great opportunity to scale up the 5G use cases once the technology is introduced.

Speaking at the India Mobile Congress 2022, Ludvig Landgren , Head of Digital Services , Ericsson South east Asia , Oceania and India said, “I think this absolutely the right time to launch 5G in India. It is nice to see that all the stakeholders in the eco-system are aligned and working together towards this.”

He added that since 5G is the fastest technology till date, and as such is two times faster when it comes to adoption. “According to our mobility report, of the 4.4 billion 5G connections globally by 2027, India alone will have 500 million. It is also a game changer for India in terms of self-sufficiency, in terms of changing the landscape of the country. It is a GDP increaser as well,” he said.

Airtel Business, chief executive, Ajay Chitkara agreed but cautioned that for 5G to be a true game changer, the eco-system will need to ensure it puts the customer first, and learns from past mistakes.

“In India, once something lands, it can only scale up. We need to work with the start-up ecosystem and solve for problems. Lastly, for the business cases to scale across sectors, the 5G infrastructure cost needs to come down, along with innovation in the business model itself,” he said.

Chitkara also provided a peek into how Airtel looks at 5G from a strategy point of view. The telco is focussing its strategy regarding 5G around 3 pillars. “The first is digital infrastructure. Over the past few years we have invested $40-60 billion on things like radio equipment and fibre equipment and we are making sure we continue to invest. Second is making sure we build digital platforms and the third is alliances,” he offered.

Sanjay Malik, senior vice president and head of Nokia India added that India is at a distinct advantage since it is getting a technology that is proven. So it can now reap the benefits of the technology, and prepare to scale up the use cases over the next few years.

“We are fast to adopt anything new like we saw with online payments. Keeping this in mind, I think 5G complete rollout will happen in 3 years and at scale,” he observed.

Sanjay Kaul, president, Asia Pacific & Japan, Cisco Service Provider Business pointed out that while the 5G opportunity is huge, the key will be for telcos to maximise the potential of the data 5G will generate.

“5G is a phenomenal excuse for the industry to fix what they needed to this past decade. 5G will define the future of internet which in turn will power the digital universe. I believes this means we are building a network architecture that is infallible, intuitive, and intelligent and most of all, secure,” he said.

Kaul added that scale is going to multifold with 5G which is where the monetisation opportunity is. “But you need to have quick reflexes to capture, analyse and monetise data. This is where telcos can become true digital value players,” he said.

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