5G: The Catalyst to Digital Revolution in India

India has progressed a step closer to having 5G broadband networks implemented. The Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications has announced that 5G trials have been approved and that telecom firms will be allocated 5G bandwidth for the trials.

A few companies are dominating commercial 5G services in various countries worldwide. India is not on the list as the commercial 5G services have not yet been rolled out in the country. But, with the latest decision to start 5G trials, India will be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology.

The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing of 5G spectrum propagation, 5G phones and devices and various indigenous applications developed.

Telcos will now be authorized to perform 5G trials in India using their current spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, and 2,500 MHz).

Frequency Allocation

The National Frequency Allocation Plan of India provides a comprehensive regulatory structure for cellular mobile services, Wi-Fi, sound and television broadcasting, defence and security communications, radio navigation for aircraft and vehicles, among other things. NFAP covers the frequency range up to 3,000 GHz.

The Radio Regulations, an international treaty signed by India and other ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Member States that regulates the worldwide use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits (geostationary and non-geostationary).

The World has been split into three Regions for the purpose of frequency allocation. In the Radio Regulations, they are referred to as Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3. India is a member of Region 3.

Everything you need to know about 5G

The fifth-generation mobile network is referred to as 5G. After 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, it is a new international broadband standard. 5G allows for the creation of novel access that facilitates features to link everything be it machines, objects, or various other gadgets.

International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) systems are mobile systems that offer connectivity to a wide range of telecommunication facilities, including specialized mobile services.

The 5G systems (IMT-2020) will provide:

  • Improved performance for mobile broadband
  • Actual data rates of 100 Mbps
  • Peak rate of up to 20 Gbps with a more consistent user interface to a larger number of devices for efficient performance
  • M2M (Machine to Machine) communications and smart devices

5G Initiatives in India

To advance 5G technologies, the Government has initiated a programme called “Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed.” This three-year programme started in March 2018 with Rs 2,240 million budget authorization. IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore are working closely on this project.

DST (Department of Science & Technology)and MEITY(Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) have both sponsored a number of smaller academic R&D projects based on 5G. In July 2018, Ericsson opened the first public 5G test bed at IIT Delhi for designing technologies in the broadband and low latency zones, allowing industry and organisations to focus on India-specific usage scenarios & applications.

Why 5G is important for India?

-In addition to increasing the substantial network efficiency across previous generations, 5G is anticipated to bring new infrastructure dimensions beyond conventional voice and data through enabling technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Augmented Reality(AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) and others.

-VR could go far beyond sports, with people being able to use their VR headsets to attend sporting activities and other festivals by recording real-time encounters.

-5G is expected to use higher frequency bands (30-300 GHz) which will provide better capacity, bandwidth scalability, and lesser interference.

5G and Agriculture.

In the Indian context, 5G has immense potential in the agriculture sector. 5G enables smart farming, which requires accurate crop treatments. Rather than treating an entire field the same, farmers can give each plant row exactly what it precisely needs. 5G enables machine-to-machine connectivity allowing computers to be operated from a single location and data to be transmitted in real-time.

Drones equipped with 5G can monitor weeds and pests in the near future, allowing for site-specific treatments. There is rapid data transmission as Images and videos are sent straight from the fields to the server where they are collected.

5G and Healthcare industry

Healthcare industry 5G enabled technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the capability to augment the healthcare system.

Online consultations: Online consultations and virtual doctor-patient interactions with fast data speeds is expected to reduce the long waiting time for patients.

Data Management: By centralising health records and making them securely accessible, patients will be able to get faster diagnoses and other treatment options.

India is at the cusp of a digital revolution powered by Increased broadband and internet coverage, exponential data uptake, and a growing trend of technology adoption in various sectors. Here, the adoption of 5G networks will play a critical role in transforming India into a global economy, providing an unprecedented opportunity in competing with the global market.

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