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Govt puts 5G high-speed Internet plan on fast track

Vidya S     March 28, 2018

The government will come out with a detailed roadmap for the rollout of next generation high-speed Internet known as 5G by June this year, telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday. World over testing has begun for the new technology that is expected to offer 10 gbps speed, with American service providers targeting a launch by end-2018. Meanwhile in India, Airtel and China's Huawei conducted the first trial in Gurgaon. Sundararjan said the country has high stakes in 5G rollout as we are dependent on it to leapfrog several decades of underserving. We won't miss out on it like we did in 2G, 3G and 4G, she added.

The 5G rollout is expected to provide better speeds and coverage than the current 4G, and also support newer technologies such as Internet of Things and machine-tomachine communication. "A high-level forum on 5G which includes global experts, industry experts, IITs, IISc, has already commenced work and done a fair amount of deliberation. By June, India will have a full roadmap ready on this," she said at a COAI event in New Delhi.

The panel is charting out a vision, goals, and roadmap on 5G, and will also look at related areas of spectrum policy, regulatory regime, pilot programmes and the test bed, she added. Set up in September 2017, the high-level panel comprises members from the industry, telecom department and academia to flesh out a strategy to rollout 5G rollout by 2020. "We have seen intense activity in last five to six months in the area of 5G but a lot of work remains to be done," the secretary said. The government also wants to partner with ecosystem players to ensure India's capability in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) creation and frugal innovation to find a due role in 5G,'' she added. She also said the upcoming National Telecom Policy 2018 would touch upon of spectrum, and regulatory clarity.

Refering to the challenges that will have to be faced, Bharti Airtel CTO Abhay Savargaonkar said, "India is predominantly a dual-SIM market. But there is no standardisation for the different modes of SIMs. We faced serious challenges in migrating from 3G to 4G because we had to get users to change their SIMs,'' he added. "If the same thing happens in moving from 4G to 5G, it will be a disaster to get 1.2 billion users to change their SIMs. So, 5G can happen only if there is industry-wide standardisation," he observed. He said Airtel, along with Jio, has submitted represtenations to the government about reusing assets like spectrum to expedite the 5G rollout. "Band 40, which is the spectrum being used for 4G, should be taken as the band for 5G as well," he said. COAI director general Rajan Mathews said there is a high degree of involvement among all key stakeholders to ensure 5G rollout at the earliest. "By end 2018, we will begin to see issues around spectrum being taken care of.

In association with Mail Today 


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