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PM Modi Inaugurates 5G Services at IMC 2022

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated 5G services in India at IMC 2022 on 1st Oct. Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, Qualcomm, and several other leading telecom companies demonstrated their 5G services and use cases during the event.

With 5G officially launched in India, Airtel confirmed that 8 cities would get 5G access from the same day, while Jio 5G services will rollout to 4 metro cities by Diwali 2022. Most major telecom vendors are eyeing a PAN India rollout by 2023.

Here are the key points and addresses by PM Modi:

  • All major telecom operators of the country, Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea and Airtel, showcased various use cases of 5G technology in front of the prime minister. Reliance Jio showcased their True 5G device concept and Jio Glass technology.
  • PM Modi addressed, saying, “Digital India’s success is based on four pillars including the cost of the device, digital connectivity, data costs and digital-first approach. And mentioned how the current government worked on all of them.”
  • The Prime minister also added, “With the development in technology and telecom, India will lead the Industry 4.0 revolution from the upfront. This is not going to be a decade of India, but a century of India.” Connectivity is the major strength of the communication sector. In 2014, broadband users numbered only six crores, while the number will be over 80 crores in 2022, said PM Modi.
  • The PM also mentioned how India worked on reducing data costs by saying, “earlier cost of 1GB data was 300 INR, now it’s less than 10 INR per 1 GB.” “India is now the player in the global mobile market, with the export potential of thousands of crores. Digital India has been a true success and has provided every citizen with their space. Even the smallest vendors are using UPI as their default payment gateway,” PM concluded.
  • The 5G service will be launched initially in 13 cities: Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurugram, Jamnagar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
  • “5G tariffs will be as per the 4G tariff rates,” said Mr Ashwini Vaisnaw, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister. Though there are chances of tariff hikes in future, industry leaders think it won’t bother most consumers.

Let’s take a quick look at Key highlights of IMC 2022:

  • This was the first time ever that JioGlass was showcased to the public.
  • As far as the speed is concerned, it is being said that the latency will be extremely low, and data transfer speeds will be 10-20 times faster than 4G when the PAN India rollout is complete.
  • Reliance Jio will roll out its true 5G services in 4 cities by Diwali. These include: Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, and Varanasi. As per the ministry, 13 cities will get 5G first (across operators). These include Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Lucknow, and Pune.
  • Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, has confirmed that all cities, villages, and every corner of the country will access Jio’s 5G services by December 2023.
  • Airtel also announced the launch of its 5G services. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises said that 8 cities, including Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, will get 5G services starting the same day, i.e., 1st Oct.
  • Sunil Mittal said Airtel 5G will reach every home by March 2024, so, like 4G, Reliance Jio will also lead the 5G race PAN India.
  • Vodafone-idea (Vi) has also announced that it would roll out 5G services very soon.
  • Though both Airtel and Jio have announced rolling out of their 5G services in selected cities, everyone living in these cities will not get access to 5G by default. It will be an invitation-only process, and the services will work as Beta for now. Moreover, the 5G services will be available in certain parts of the cities.
  • Once 5G services go live in your area, you will need to have a 5G-enabled smartphone. 4G devices will not be able to use the 5G benefits. However, no new SIM will be required as the existing SIM can be upgraded to 5G to incur the services.
  • While 5G is yet to be rolled out officially, telcos leaders are already talking about 6G. Experts say India will get 6G by the end of the decade.

Future Possibilities with 5G Demonstrated by ArtPark and Nokia

Among the many kiosks at IMC 2022, one was set up by a joint venture of ArtPark (a not-for-profit AI & robotics research foundation by IISC, Bangalore) and Nokia (Cellular tech giant).

ArtPark demonstrated the power of next-generation telecom networks by harnessing AI and ML advancements. They showcased their concept technology of Next-generation Networks to develop applications in Robotic Teleportation and Advanced Warehouse Automation. Visitors got the opportunity to have real-time interactions with exhibits and people in IISc-Nokia Center for Networked Robotics using IISc/ARTPARK’s robotic teleportation technology.

The Nokia booth featured demos about ArcStar – optimized 5G hardware for tilt control and optimization; Virtual Metaverse collaboration, Smart Home, Smart Health, AR Retail, Industrial and Agricultural Drone technology, Telepresence and Industrial robotics, and an Immersive Virtual Experience of the Taj Mahal. Nokia has collaborated with all major CSPs to showcase Industry 4.0, Private Wireless, Virtual Tourism, and Smart Factory applications in their respective booths.

How 5G is going to help, according to Experts on IMC 2022

5G is the next-generation mobile network spectrum technology, using which large data sets can be transferred at high speed. 5G features lower latency and is almost ten times faster than 4G. The 5G technology will catalyze the growth of various other technologies like mining, warehousing, telemedicine, manufacturing, automation, AI, edge computing, etc.

Industry Leaders Reaction to Future Possibilities with 5G

“Nokia is committed to and fully prepared to support our partners in ushering in the 5G era in India. We welcome all measures taken by the Government to facilitate the deployment of 5G technology. Our global experience in 5G rollouts shows that it will provide a strong impetus to socioeconomic growth and industrial development, contributing to the GDP and mission of Digital Bharat.”

-Sanjay Malik, Sr. Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia

“5G will usher in a new wave of opportunities for businesses, unlocking the next level of growth for the country. More than just seamless connectivity and fast speed, 5G technology will revolutionize businesses and industries, enhancing advancements in Innovation & R&D while also improving customer experiences. 5G will be a key driver for Digital India initiatives and realizing Design in India opportunities leveraging disruptive technologies like AI, cloud, IoT, and others across the ecosystem. We foresee India becoming a major hub for cutting-edge semiconductor R&D and design, and the rollout of 5G services will accelerate the next wave of digital transformation. MediaTek congratulates the people of India, and we are extremely proud to be a part of this significant milestone in India’s journey towards Atma nirbharta.”

-Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India

“We applaud our hon’ble PM on this landmark announcement of the long-awaited launch of 5G services in India. Numerous opportunities will arise for the skilled workforce in India as the demand for 5G services rises. For an estimate, in FY 2021–2022, around 36,000+ competent workers were needed in India for 5G and allied technologies. Due to the increased use of internet services and apps, the demand for better telecom networks, and the implementation of 5G networks, this gap will only widen. To meet this demand, TSSC has already developed courses in 5G and related technologies and created multiple Centers of Excellence and training centers across the country. To close this gap, we have also teamed up with various Government, academic, and business stakeholders. India is home to a sizable talent pool; hence it is crucial that the youth is skilled, upskilled, or reskilled for this new network technology.”

-Arvind Bali, CEO of Telecom Sector Skill Council

“The launch of 5G services marks a very significant inflection point in the Digital India journey. 5G ushers in not just world-class Telecom infrastructure but also the possibilities for revolutionizing several industries that can take advantage of low-latency, high-bandwidth, and network-slicing capabilities, among others. These powerful 5G capabilities will also help make the technology powering several use cases appear “invisible” and overcome Technology Friction (the gap between the rate of technology innovation and the rate of technology adoption).

 With the combination of 5G technology and the strong ecosystem of start-ups and research institutions in India, this rollout promises to bring to fruition use cases that have not yet been imagined. This launch is a strong driver for India to be at the forefront of technology in the years ahead.”

-Ramesh Natarajan, CEO, Redington Limited

Compatibility of 5G SIM

Experts on IMC also clarified some data about the 5G SIM compatibility. It has come to light that 5G SIM will require a 5G-enabled smartphone or tablet. According to reports, only 9.7% of smartphones in India are 5G capable as of Sept 2022. But it has been cleared that our existing 4G SIM can be upgraded for 5G benefits, and there will be no need to apply for a new SIM card at all. 4G SIM will also keep working in the new 5G Smartphones. But for the best experience, a 5G SIM needs to be paired with a 5G Smartphone.