AIR Spotlight - India’s Journey into 5G and Forays into 6G

AIR Spotlight is an insightful program featured daily on the All India Radio Newsonair. In this program, many eminent panellists discuss issues of importance which can be quite helpful in IAS exam preparation. In this article, India’s initiatives for 5G and 6G are discussed.

Participants:

  • Parameshwar Narayan Ayyar, Former Principal Adviser, TRAI
  • Ashwini Srivatsav, Journalist

Context:

  • At the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Indian Prime Minister noted India’s steady progress over the years from 3G to 4G and now to 5G. India is set to roll out 5G telecom technology along with plans for future implementation of 6G technology as well.
    • The Prime Minister stated that a task force has started work on rolling out 6G telecom network by the end of this decade.

Evolution of telecommunication technology:

  • 1G (1st generation) involved analog signalling.
  • 2G technology was primarily based on voice and SMS, with speeds in the Kbps range.
  • 3G technology witnessed changes from voice to data transmission, speeds in the range of 2Mbps.
  • 4G technology has speeds ranging from around 20Mbps to up to 50Mbps.
  • In 5G technology, speeds in the range of 10Gbps. A major aspect would be the possible shift towards the Internet of Things. This could allow for the evolution of smart systems like sensor-based reading of electric meters at home and generation of electricity bills and farmers being able to monitor their crops through sensors or drones sitting at their homes.
  • 6G will have speeds up to 200 Gbps. This would enable the scalable application of technologies like Artificial intelligence and virtual reality. This would fuse the human and digital worlds together. This will give rise to “intelligent systems”.

Significance of progression in telecommunication technology:

Technological:

  • Developing the required technology will help India evolve as a world leader in telecommunications technology. Notably, 5G technology involves mostly improvements in the software development. Given India’s prowess in the software segment, there lies the immense potential for India in the domain of 5G technology.
  • This will boost self-reliance in critical technologies and improve India’s strategic standing in the technology domain.

Economical:

  • Roll out of the 5G technology will boost growth in sectors like agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, and logistics.
  • The rollout of the 5G technology in India could help add about 450 billion USD to the Indian economy.
  • There is the potential for the creation of more jobs with this technology.
  • Sufficient expertise in the technology and development of products can create the potential for exports from India.

Others:

  • Faster and real-time communication can help bring out significant changes in the governance of the country. The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is one such example of the potential of technology usage in the domain of governance.
  • Easier access to the internet will improve the ease of living among the general citizenry.

Concerns:

  • Given the digital divide in terms of both access and usability, there are apprehensions over the utility of extending the 5G network across the country even as some areas continue to remain unconnected or poorly connected.

Initiatives being taken:

  • A new 5G testbed was inaugurated recently. This will allow start-ups and industry players to test and certify their technologies domestically and lessen reliance on foreign facilities. The testbed was built at a cost of approximately Rs 220 crore.

Recommendations:

  • Extend the connectivity to the remotest part of the country even as the transition to better technology continues.
  • A wholesome ecosystem needs to be put in place to enable the organic growth of such high technologies in India.

Conclusion:

  • Connectivity will decide the progress of the country in the 21st century and hence modern technology like 5G and 6G in the domain of telecom communication should be developed.

Read more Gist of AIR Spotlight here.

AIR Spotlight – India’s Journey into 5G and Forays into 6G:- Download PDF Here

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