PM Modi to set the ball rolling for 5G services launch on Oct 1 | The Financial Express

PM Modi to set the ball rolling for 5G services launch on Oct 1

Ambani, Mittal, & KM Birla to present use cases

PM Modi to set the ball rolling for 5G services launch on Oct 1
As 5G services have a host of industry-related applications, it would give an impetus to the services that telcos provide to consumers in entertainment, education, and healthcare.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially launch 5G services in the country on October 1 — ahead of the commercial start of services later that month — at the Indian Mobile Congress, with the country’s three telecom operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea presenting certain use cases of the technology.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, and Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla will be present. The three telecom operators have developed use cases of 5G technology in the fields of entertainment, education and healthcare, which will be demonstrated to mark the arrival of the technology in the country.

As 5G services have a host of industry-related applications, it would give an impetus to the services that telcos provide to consumers in entertainment, education, and healthcare.

Also Read: Delhi International Airport becomes 5G network-compliant

The commercial launch will, however, happen later in the month around Diwali, as Jio and Bharti have announced earlier. Though there are question marks around the launch of services by Vodafone Idea due to the fund crunch being faced by the telco, it is understood that the company will not be behind in launching 5G services, only that its scale may be modest compared to the other two players.

The operators had been allocated trial spectrum more than a year ago to develop use cases, and certain circles were marked for them. The telcos have developed these and have now been allocated spectrum that they bought in the auctions in July.

The launch of 5G services by Jio and Bharti would be roughly around the same time. At RIL’s 45th annual general meeting on August 29, Ambani had said the services would be launched in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata by Diwali and the whole country would be covered by December 2023. Bharti has a similar timeline. It plans to launch its services in October and extend them pan-India around the same time frame.

The operators are not looking at higher tariffs for 5G services initially. Instead, they are likely to upgrade users of certain 4G tariff plans to 5G. This can be done easily as no change of SIM card is required for the upgrade, as was the case in migrating from 3G to 4G.

Further, since service providers would be able to make out from their networks which subscribers are on 5G-enabled phones, direct messages can be sent to them regarding their upgrade at no extra cost. Since data usage of 5G users would rise substantially, it would translate into higher average revenue per user (Arpu) for the operators without any tariff hike.

Currently, only around 8% of handsets in the country are 5G-enabled — 50 million of the total 600 million active smartphones. However, sales of 5G-enabled handsets are projected to rise in coming months. According to Counterpoint Research, during the October-December quarter, 5G-enabled handsets would contribute around 35% to the overall sales of smartphones. With this jump, the number of 5G phones would go up to around 85 million — 14% of the overall active smartphones.

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