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5G deployment to begin in Aug-Sept; 20-25 cities to get 5G by year-end: Vaishnaw

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that 5G deployment will commence from August-September and will be rolled out in 20-25 cities and towns by year-end

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  • Asked about the pricing for 5G services, Vaishnaw said, ‘We are already the lowest in the world, that same trend will be in other areas too
  • The government will auction about Rs 4.3 lakh crore worth of airwaves capable of offering fifth-generation or 5G telecom services

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that 5G deployment will commence from August-September and will be rolled out in 20-25 cities and towns by year-end, and added that India, with its current data prices significantly lower than the global average, will continue to set rate benchmarks as new services are rolled out. The minister said that India is developing 4G and 5G stacks, and is set to bolster its position as a trusted source in digital networks for the world.

Speaking at ‘TV9: What India Thinks Today Global Summit,’ Vaishnaw said that nations are keen to give preference to 4G and 5G products and technologies being developed by India.

Trend of low pricing to continue for 5G data: Vaishnaw

On 5G services, he said: “I can say with confidence that 5G deployment will start in at least 20-25 cities and towns by year-end.”

Asked about the pricing for 5G services, Vaishnaw observed that even today data rates in India are at about USD 2, against global average of USD 25. “We are already the lowest in the world, at least by a factor of 10X…10X we are cheaper than the world, that same trend will be in other areas too,” he said.

Outlining India’s resolve to match global strides in 4G and 5G, and to take technology lead in 6G, the minister said the world has taken note of the country’s progress, and shown serious interest in the indigenous technologies being developed. “The telecom network supporting mobile phones has to be a trusted network. India’s name is on the top of the list of trusted network providers. When India develops a technology, entire world is interested in it,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention that 5G services will usher in high speeds — about 10 times faster than 4G — and spawn new-age offerings and business models.

The government will auction about Rs 4.3 lakh crore worth of airwaves capable of offering fifth-generation or 5G telecom services, including ultra-high-speed internet, and has also given its nod for setting up of captive 5G networks by the tech firms.

As much as 72 GHz of spectrum will be put on the block during the 5G auction, set to commence on July 26 this year.

New regulation to address issue of unsolicited calls

On the issue of unsolicited calls, Vaishnaw said a new regulation in the offing will enable KYC name (as given in the mobile SIM application) to be displayed, when someone makes a call. The consultation process on this is currently underway. “Once industry stakeholder consultation is completed, this will be implemented all over the country,” the minister said.

To a question on the slow download speeds experienced by customers, the minister pointed out that India’s average data consumption at 18 GB per month, exceeds the global average of 11 GB per month.

“India’s data consumption is more than what is seen in highly-developed nations. More investments are needed in infrastructure. Massive investments in infrastructure are important in the backdrop of data rates, calls drops, call quality,” he said.

The telecom sector reforms announced in September last year have brought stability to the industry, the minister noted.

He further said that in places like Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai and in other cities, many a time tower installations become difficult as people object to mobile towers. Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) radiation norms in India are more stringent than stipulated global limits, he said and assured that there is no reason to be concerned on this aspect.

(With agency inputs)

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