6G plans show India’s confidence: PM

Vision document, testbed for R&D launched

6G plans show India’s confidence: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (File/IE)

Months after launching 5G services, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the vision document for 6G services in the country and a 6G testbed project for facilitating testing of the new technology and carrying out research and development (R&D).

The 6G vision document includes a road map for the launch of 6G services, recommendations from task forces, the financial support required for projects, and opening of spectrum bands, among other things.

As per the vision document, Bharat 6G Mission will be divided into two phases – the first from 2023-2025 and the second from 2025-2030. In the first phase, the government will provide support towards conducting proof of concept tests and will work with stakeholders to explore ideas. In the second phase, the focus will be on developing the 6G use cases and take them for commercialisation.

“Today, we are talking about 6G only after six months of 5G rollout and this shows India’s confidence. We have also presented our vision document. This will become a major basis for 6G rollout in the next few years,” Modi said. “India is moving fast towards the next step of digital revolution. Today, India is the fastest 5G rollout country in the world,” he added.

The 6G testbed is being developed by a consortium of Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), including IIT Guwahati and Madras.

Launched in October last year, 5G has currently been rolled out in over 125 cities and 350 districts of the country.

Talking about India’s telecom technology model, Modi said: “India is the most connected democracy of the world with 1 billion mobile phones. Cheap smartphones and cheap internet data have rejuvenated India’s digital world. Today, digital technology is universal in India, accessible to all. Digital inclusion has happened on a large scale in India in the last few years.”

India recently launched its indigenous 4G-5G telecom stack which has been tested for 10 million simultaneous calls. “After successful field testing, we have started deployment. Within a few months, this deployment will be more than 100,000 sites,” communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

With regard to 6G, the government in November 2021 formed a committee to design a road map.

Key recommendations by the six task forces on 6G include review of the spectrum in lower, mid and mm wave bands and take action for its use towards socioeconomic benefits. The task forces in the document also recommend opening up bands like 450-470 MHz, 526-612 MHz and 31-31.3 GHz, and strengthening of the wireless planning commission (WPC) with spectrum management software for spectrum audits, etc.

“Delicensed or licence-exempt bands are key as a public good to enable innovation and gigabit public Wi-Fi. In line with this, the lower part of the 6 GHz band and at least 4.32 GHz in the V band should be delicensed,” the vision document stated.

6G will have 100 times faster speed than 5G, with added advantage of ultra-low latency.

The PM also inaugurated the first area office and innovation centre of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the country. ITU is the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICT).

“The ITU office in Delhi shall foster collaborative partnerships between ITU and the participating countries and it shall also act as a melting pot of ideas by bringing in startups and industry into the innovation game,” telecom secretary K Rajaraman said at the Communication Ministers’ Conclave.

The government also launched the UN Wayfinder navigational mobile app to enable users to find their way in various blocks and floors of UN buildings in Geneva. The app has been developed by C-DOT.

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First published on: 23-03-2023 at 05:15 IST