Telecom bigwigs Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal have both projected different timelines for the rollout of 5G. While the Reliance Jio chief believes that the company will pioneer the 5G technology in the second half of 2021, the Bharti Airtel head believes that 5G is still two-three years away.
"I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G Revolution in India in the second half of 2021. It will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components. Jio's 5G service will be a testimony to your inspiring vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat," said Ambani, speaking at the Indian Mobile Congress 2020. He added that policy development is required for early implementation of the 5G technology.
Mittal who spoke at the Indian Mobile Congress 2020 after Ambani said that the next-generation 5G would become the norm in the mobile broadband space only after two-three years. "I've been particularly excited about the upcoming 5G, which in the next two or three years will start to become the norm in the mobile broadband space. As the world settles down on the 5G space, pricing of the equipment comes down, and importantly the devices start getting available in plentiful, India to my mind in two or three years time will be ready to receive the benefit of the investments that the globe would have made on 5G standard and 5G ecosystem," he said.
Ambani took a dig at rivals Airtel and Vodafone Idea that still offer 2G services as against Jio's 4G-only service. "As many as 300 million mobile subscribers in India are still trapped in the 2G era. Urgent policy steps are needed to ensure that these underprivileged people have an affordable smartphone, so that they too can benefit from Direct Benefit Transfer into their bank accounts, and actively participate in the digital economy," he said.
"The outbreak of COVID-19 posed life-threatening challenges. But our high-speed 4G connectivity infrastructure has proved to be India's digital lifeline. Throughout 2020, India worked online, studied online, shopped online, received healthcare online, socialised online, played online...Simply put, India thrived online," stated Ambani.
The government is yet to give official dates for the auction of the 5G spectrum.