The telecom sector of India has witnessed many setbacks in the last decade beginning from the mega scandal of corruption in its GSM licensing to the exit of more recently credible players such as Telenor that accused the country of doing business impossible due to restrictive ICT policies and regulations. The story of telecom miseries may continue to haunt the Indian mobile market even in the foreseeable future as the 5G launch now seem quite impossible for the country at least for the foreseeable future. The recent announcement by Pakistani regulator PTA and IT Ministry to have 5G trials next year and deployments by 2020 makes things look even more awful not only for the policy and regulatory managers but for the Modi Government as well that seemed to brand his era as tech friendly. 5G Doesn’t Seem Like it’s Coming to India Anytime Soon opinions Experts.
5G Doesn’t Seem Like it’s Coming to India Anytime Soon opinions Experts
There are some fundamental reasons to why 5G seems delayed in India. Firstly, India is spectrum deficient or was made so intentionally. Unavailability is a problem because insufficient spectrum was made available for the growing population in the country-making artificial famine for spectrum. The dramatic growth of smartphones and data usage has outpaced the ability of most providers (mobile operators) to offer reliable connectivity.
India needs to make available a very large chunk of spectrum and that too in the near future to take advantage of new possibilities for social and economic development. With demands for mobile technology expected to rise rapidly in future years, it is vital that the country deploy spectrum for commercial utilization in order to make possible the expansion of mobile broadband.
Secondly, the experts recently highlighted that India’s migration to 5G technology will be full of roadlocks mainly due to the factor that presently less than 20% of Indian mobile networks are operating on fibre optics cables reports local Indian media.
As the EVP of Reliance Communications, Jalal Choudhri said:
“One of the fundamental requirements for 5G is strong backhaul, which is simply not there and that is the most time consuming part and it is extremely expensive in today’s condition in India.”
He also added that:
“Fibre infrastructure has to be considered civic infrastructure rather than a property of the service provider. The investment has to be made through civic bodies so that service providers can actually leverage that infrastructure.”
Interestingly, in India 80% of the site cells are connected via microwave backhaul whereas only 20% of the sites are being connected through the fibre cables. Microwave backhaul has some bandwidth issues as it uses the traditional bands providing 300 Mbps of capacity. On the other hand, fiber-based backhaul can offer unlimited capacity and low latency, which is something that is essential for 5G technologies.
For this reason, Huawei’s director, marketing and integrating solutions Chandan Kumar said that:
“Besides identifying a new spectrum for the Indian market and harmonizing it with the global spectrum strategy; there is a dire need for a robust backhaul network.”
So keeping in view the present landscape of the telecom market of India, it can be said that as the commercial launch of 5G technology is expected to take place in 2019-2020 globally; whereas in India context, this will initiate well after 2022, quite late !!!