Even though 5G is yet to be launched in India, the government has already started preparing for 6G technology. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is organising a webinar on February 24 to analyse the technical requirements and challenges to introduce 6G in the country.
The webinar, to be addressed by senior DoT officials — including the member (technology), the member (services), an IIT Madras professor, and a senior Reliance Jio official — will deliberate on standardisation of 6G, probable use cases, opportunities and challenges in the present ecosystem, and strategising for 6G in India.
The DoT is attempting to outline an overall framework of 6G and to provide directional guidance for the subsequent 6G research.
As per a note shared by the department, with 5G network commercially deployed in various parts of the world, more and more researchers and organisations have started working on the next generation of mobile communication system, that is 6G. “This webinar will explore the 6G vision with embedded four keywords: intelligent connectivity, deep connectivity, holographic connectivity and ubiquitous connectivity and various international initiatives to realise the vision,” the DoT said.
Even in the case of 5G, the government had set up a high-level forum in 2017 under the chairmanship of Telecom Secretary, with Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) Secretary and Department of Science and Technology Secretary as co-chairs. The forum also had members from the academia and industry and submitted its report in August 2018. The recommendations are still to be implemented.
The standing committee on information technology, chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, has pulled up DoT for not doing sufficient preparatory work to launch 5G services in India. The committee said at a time when many countries are swiftly moving towards 5G technology, India is likely to witness its deployment only by the end of 2021 or early 2022, that too partially.
Many countries started to roll out 5G commercially in 2019, and globally there are 118 operators in 59 countries that have deployed the technology. Currently, the 5G network covers around 7% of the world population and it is expected that by 2025, it will cover 20% of the world’s population. Countries where 5G has been introduced include USA, Canada, UK, European Union nations, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain.
“So, it is very likely that after missing the 2G, 3G, and 4G bus, India is going to miss on 5G opportunities, unless time-bound action is taken in core areas where governmental intervention is required. It is disappointing to note that the department has hardly learnt from the past delays…,” the committee said.
After being pulled up by the panel, the DoT has started to move towards conducting 5G trials, dates for which are expected to be announced soon.