|Introduction: Explain in brief about 5G.|
Body: Write some points related to the opportunities and challenges associated with the launch of 5G Spectrum in India.
Conclusion: Write way forward.
5G is a next generation mobile network technology, after 4G LTE networks. It is using radio waves or radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive data. 5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.
- The fifth-generation (5G) technology will further generate new jobs in operations and maintenance, and in selling of next-generation network services.
- It is expected that the 5G will contribute USD 450 billion to the Indian economy and increasing the pace of development.
- It will help in digitising the economy, boosting the Startup ecosystem, improving governance, ease of living and ease of doing business in the country.
- It is also expected to open up opportunities for collaboration with like-minded partners, including Australia and Japan.
- A rise in mobile-phone penetration and a decline in data costs will add 500 million new Internet users in India, creating opportunities for new businesses.
- By 2025, India will need 22 million skilled workers in 5G-centric technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and cloud computing.
- Low fiberization: Currently, 34% of the mobile towers are fiberized and the government wants this number to increase to 70% by the end of the 2023-24 financial year. This is necessary to roll out 5G in an efficient manner. But there are several challenges to achieving this; like- the right of way (RoW) rules and approvals to complicated bureaucratic procedures and lack of skilled manpower.
- Bidding intensity: Considering the financial stress of the operators, keeping a high base price will adversely impact participation. Vodafone, Idea is yet to attract noteworthy funding and is continuously losing subscribers to Airtel and Jio. This may result in muted bidding intensity and the auction process may become a battleground for only two operators- Jio and Airtel.
- Other market dynamics such as rationalizing regulatory levies like Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) and spectrum usage charge (SUC) to ease cash flow concerns and underdeveloped domestic hardware manufacturing also add to the challenges.
Striking a balance between revenue generation through spectrum auction and long-term sustainability of the telecom sector is crucial. The policymakers, operators, hardware vendors and enablers should focus on the advancement of the technology and the proliferation of one sector should not come at the expense of the other.