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5G makes it to India — From telecom, education to healthcare

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in India at Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 in Delhi on Saturday.

“On the historic occasion of Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav today, India will take 5G — the greatest power in the 21st century — to the next level. India is about to set the global standard for 5G internet,” Modi said on the occasion.

He said that with developments in technology and telecom, India will lead the Industry 4.0 revolution. This is not the decade of India, but the century of India, PM said.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said telecom is a sunrise sector and with 5G technology in place sectors like education, health, banking and agriculture will undergo a massive transformation.

“5G is much more than next generation or connectivity. 5G is the foundational tech that unlocks the full potential of the 21st-century tech,” he said at the launch event.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said, “5G can bridge the gap between urban and rural India by accelerating digitisation and intelligent data management of agriculture, services, trade, industry, informal sector, transportation and energy infrastructure. This will create huge efficiencies in all economic activities, making India a hub of innovations, and also help us mitigate the climate crisis.”

He believes 5G can make available the same powerful productivity tools to small-scale industry and commercial enterprises as are used by large capital-intensive businesses. This will drive modernisation and profitability of all sectors of India’s economy, he said.

Ambani added that by bringing artificial intelligence into every domain, 5G can power India’s emergence as the world’s intelligence capital. This will help India become a major exporter of high-value-added digital solutions and services, he said.

Market expert Prakash Diwan sees this as a tectonic shift for the telecom sector and what it would evolve into. The effort by telecom players over the last 20 years is going to start paying off.

“The moment you have 5G enabled services, especially related to data usage, there is a very clear pricing trigger. You’re sitting on a tool, which will help you price better and has variability in usage. The plans could vary from the absolute cheap ones to the ones that are exclusive and come with so much of privileges and perks. And that’s exactly where the ARPUs would first start inching up,” he said.

Reflecting on the economic impact, Jaideep Ghosh, Chief Operating Officer at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, said, “The economic impact, direct-indirect-tertiary on 5G, if used in an efficient manner, more for the enterprise and utilities and government applications could be much more than $450 billion but that we will have to see; 2035 is too long ahead, but seems doable, much before time.”

Former Telecom Secy R Chandrasekhar also said that nobody upgrades to 5G just for mobile services. “There are lots and lots of interesting use cases in manufacturing, in education, in healthcare, in autonomous vehicles, and so on,” he told CNBC-TV18.

Speaking about 5G adoption Tarun Pathak, Director, Counterpoint Research said, every third smartphone now selling in India is a 5G smartphone. He added that 33 percent of the smartphones being sold during the online festive sales are 5G.

“People are getting future-ready. That’s not just because of demand, but we have a very solid device ecosystem already there. Also, the install base from the perspective of the device in India, we have close to like 620 million unique smartphone users in India. Even without the start of the 5G services, we already had 50 million 5G smartphones that are in operation,” he said.

Dipan Mehta, Founder & Director, Elixir Equities, said 5G will be a gamechanger for new-age digital businesses. “They will devise special games and service offerings around 5g, which will enable them to increase their revenue. Then there are other companies like Nykaa, which will use it extensively for marketing and displaying of their products and how to use it and for better customer communication as well as feedback. Who knows, I think even companies like Zomato may use 5g to show you how your food is being prepared or have a chat with the chef when it is happening,” he said. CNBCTV18

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