Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in India today at a telecom event in Delhi. The service is expected to progressively cover the entire country over the next couple of years, potentially transforming India’s digital landscape.
The PM launched the much-awaited service at the 6th Edition of India Mobile Congress 2022, being held from October 1-4, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Bharti Airtel’s 5G service will be available in eight cities from Saturday, its chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said at the event.
After inaugurating the exhibition, PM Modi went around pavilions set up by different telecom operators and technology providers to get a first-hand experience of what 5G can do. He started with Reliance Jio’s stalls, where he witnessed the ‘True 5G’ devices displayed and experienced the use case through Jio Glass.
Flanked by Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and billionaires Mukesh Ambani of Reliance, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel, and Kumar Mangalam Birla of Vodafone Idea, he spent time understanding the indigenous development of end-to-end 5G technology. He then visited stalls of Airtel, Vodafone Idea, C-DOT and others.
The various use cases that will be demonstrated in front of the PM in the exhibition include precision drone-based farming, high-security routers and AI based cyber threat detection platforms, automated guided vehicles, Ambupod – smart ambulance, augmented reality/virtual reality /mix reality in education and skill development, sewage monitoring system, smart-agri programme, health diagnostics, among others.
India Mobile Congress (IMC), which claims to be the largest telecom, media, and technology forum in Asia, is jointly organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
Besides powering ultra-low latency connections, which allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas), 5G can enable solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more-immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, life-saving use cases, and advanced mobile cloud gaming, among others.
“5G can unleash new economic opportunities and societal benefits, giving it the potential for being a transformational force for Indian society. It will help the country leapfrog the traditional barriers to development, spur innovations by startups and business enterprises as well as advance the ‘Digital India’ vision,” an official release said. Experts have said 5G technology will greatly benefit India. It is likely to benefit the Indian economy by ₹ 36.4 trillion ($455 billion) between 2023 and 2040, a recent report by a global industry body representing mobile network operators estimated.
India’s biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum held recently had received a record ₹ 1.5 lakh crore of bids, with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with a ₹ 88,078 crore bid.
The government has given a target of 80 per cent coverage of 5G telecom services in the country in a short timeframe, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw had earlier said.
Addressing an industry event in the national capital recently, Mr Vaishnaw had said, “the journey of 5G is going to be very exciting and noted that many countries took multiple years to reach 40 per cent to 50 per cent coverage. But we are targeting a very aggressive timeline and the Government has given a target of 80 per cent coverage in a short time frame, and we should definitely cover at least 80 per cent in a very short timeframe.”