With data growing exponentially as well as cutting edge work being done on technology, telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the country presents huge opportunity for telecom operators to invest in 5G. “On India’s 5G appetite, I think one clear indicator is that data has been growing five times and we have one of the fastest growing appetite for data anywhere in the world and simply because Indians are huge consumers of entertainment, video, etc. Also, a lot of apps will eventually become video-based and so data will be the key. Besides, there are some amazing start-ups that are working in IoT and M2M. So these are what will drive 5G and I feel operators will see this as a huge opportunity. How they decide to harness this opportunity, we will have to see,” Sundararajan told FE.
She said a positive aspect in this journey is that while the world is developing standards for 5G, India has an early start. Also going ahead, 5G devices and standards will address rural India’s requirements. Sundararajan explained that a lot of work in terms of getting the industry and ecosystem ready needs to be accomplished. “Devices also have to be ready. And we want to make sure this time it’s Make in India,” she added. On the high-level forum set up to prepare the 5G road map, she said this forum, with some of the most eminent personalities globally, will sit with the stakeholders and develop the used cases as well as get the ecosystem ready for 5G.
The government on Tuesday said it has formed a high-level panel, which includes secretaries from ministries of telecom, electronics and IT and science & technology, to make a plan for the roll out of 5G by 2020. On working with Trai, the secretary said 5G will require an enabling regulatory regime. “This means what will be the spectrum bands on which 5G will rise? Also, what should be the appropriate pricing for these bands? So the regulator will be supporting DoT on industry consultations and giving us clear recommendations on the regulatory road map,” Sundararajan added.
Since the forum has been set up, the process will commence shortly, she said.
On the issue of Industry facing tough times, Sundararajan said, “The industry has been speaking about the financial headwinds and the government has set up the IMG. It has also to do with the fact that we’ve had too many operators and this market, given how capital intensive it is, it does require consolidation. So I think with consolidation we will see a healthy sector and with better finances.”On the IMG report, she said the first report has been given to the Telecom Commission (TC), which has asked the panel for some clarifications and details. TC is looking at it seriously.