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5G in India may not roll out in 2021 as country still in beginning phase, says parliamentary panel

The panel, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, concluded that sufficient preparatory work has not been undertaken for the launching of 5G services in India.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | February 9, 2021 | Updated 13:47 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • 5G may not roll out widely in 2021 as India has not moved beyond the modest beginning phase, a parliamentary panel noted on Monday.
  • The Standing committee has been informed that 5G will roll out in India to some extent for specific uses, by the end of the calendar year 2021 or beginning of 2022.
  • Last year, Reliance CEO Mukesh Ambani had said that Jio will launch 5G services in India in the second half of 2021. Airtel, too, noted this year that its network is 5G-ready.

The government expects 5G services to roll out by early 2022 after another spectrum auction that is planned to be held after six months, according to a panel report tabled in Parliament on Monday. The telecom ministry has announced an auction of spectrum worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore from March 1. However, it does not include the desired frequency band for 5G services. The Standing Committee on Information Technology pulled up the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the delay in the launch of 5G services when several countries have commercially rolled out the next-generation technology.

According to news agency PTI, the committee has been informed that 5G will roll out in India to some extent for specific uses, by the end of the calendar year 2021 or beginning of 2022, because 4G should continue in India for at least another 5-6 years, the parliamentary panel, headed by Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, said.

"From the foregoing, the committee are inclined to conclude that sufficient preparatory work has not been undertaken for launching 5G services in India. As such, India has not moved beyond the modest beginning stage as compared to other countries in the world," PTI cited the report. The panel said the delay in the launch of 5G services reflects poorly on planning and execution in the country.

"So, it is likely that after missing the 2G, 3G and 4G bus, India is going to miss 5G opportunities, unless time-bound action is taken in core areas where governmental intervention is required," the report said."Telecom industry body COAI raised concern before the panel that the telecom operators submitted the applications of 5G trial in January 2020 and till date, the guidelines for trials have not been made clear. There is no set date for commencement of these trials," it added.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and Information technology, in a recent National Informatics Centre Services Incorporated (NICSI) event had said, "We lagged in 2G, 3G and 4G but in 5G India should move at a speed faster than the world with made-in-India 5G."

Last year, Reliance CEO Mukesh Ambani had said that Jio will launch 5G services in India in the second half of 2021."I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G Revolution in India in the second half of 2021," he had said. Earlier this month, Airtel too, announced that it has become the country's first telco to successfully demonstrate and orchestrate live 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city. The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to Airtel's customers, when the adequate spectrum is available and government approvals are received.


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