“India is gearing up for introducing 5G and could well lead global subscriptions to the next generation technology along with North America by 2022,” said, Manoj Sinha, Telecom minister of India.
At an industry event on Friday, Sinha said the government’s next telecom policy will take into account future trends when data will drive the industry more than voice, given the surge in use of broadband amid growing penetration of smartphones.
“We need to think of and prepare for an ecosystem where Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are mainstream, and connectivity is seamless, designed to improve the quality of e-governance and education, as well as to enable financial inclusion, smart cities, and an intelligent transportation system, amongst other things,” Sinha said.
“5G will speed up the digital transformation in a number of industries, enabling new use cases in areas such as IoT, automation, transport and big data,” he said.
The government has already started work to introduce 5G technology in India. The telecom department recently asked the sector regulator to suggest the starting price for 5G airwaves in the 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz bands, which could make their debut in the next auctions.
“The need of the hour is to ramp up for the digital era,” Sinha said, adding that whether it is broadband spectrum, Internet adoption or availability, data protection, or cyber security, what was applicable five years ago is no longer relevant in today’s context, and new policies will need to be futuristic.
“They will also need to be capable of dealing with India’s challenges and figuring out ways to deal with those challenges,” Sinha said. The minister said broadband assumes critical importance to India and the world to ensure digital connectivity, which will lead to higher productivity, as is proven in many a developed economy.
“It enhances commerce, improves banking facilities, improves administrative facilities and empowers the public as a whole. Broadband development is the cornerstone of ‘Digital India’ and every Indian and remotest location will be empowered through the ‘Digital India’ initiative,” he said.