India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outlined in the G20 Summit that India, being the second largest market for smartphones, will see millions of users harnessing the 5G technology. However, India cannot go it alone when it comes to building and developing 5G infrastructure.
The only way to keep India in the loop once the rest of the world rolls out their respective 5G systems, is to forge a partnership with the leading players in the race for 5G operability.
Actually, PM Modi has already received offers from China, the US and South Korea, being the main contenders for world supremacy in 5G technology. After all, the wireless communication innovation is not just about systems and machines for connecting people and smart communities. It is also the cornerstone for developing better and more powerful military weapons and equipment.
What India’s Department of Telecommunications Considers as Immediate Challenge to 5G Development in India
In order to build and develop 5G in India, there has to be increased fibre optic deployment by at least 2 to 3 times, which denotes deploying 16 to 18 million fibre optic per kilometer per year.
What Telecom Operators in India Consider as Major Challenge
Telecom operators in India namely Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance Industries’ Jio and Vodafone Idea, think the government of India is asking an overly high price for the acquisition of spectrum. According to reports, the government intends to auction off spectrum for 5G technology at a base price 4.92 billion Indian rupees, which is roughly about $71 million. That is for one unit of spectrum to cover 22 Indian regions.
The deal however is that telecom operators have to bid for at least 20 units during the auction, which means that securing spectrum for bringing 5G throughout India will cost a minimum of $1.42 billion dollars at base price alone.
Countries Offering 5G Partnership with India
China via Huawei is offering to build 5G infrastructures throughout the country. Yet can India trust China? Chinese companies that deal with data have to comply with the Chinese government’s National Intelligence Law and Chine Cyber Security Law. In addition, reports have it that communist party cells will have participation in Chinese companies, further suggesting that even if India seals a deal with a “no-backdoor-agreement” with Huawei, the inviolability of such an agreement is still contentious.
How about the U.S., can the country deliver? Donald Trump’s typically boasts that since his takeover as president of the U.S. he has focused on developing the technological capabilities of American companies. Trump forgot to mention to PM Modi that he has ordered tech companies to cease ordering important components from Chinese companies in light of the ongoing US China Trade War.
That is notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. stands to lose a great source of rare elements, should the trade war with China escalates.
How about South Korea through Samsung? Korea Times reported that Samsung executives visited India to talk with telecom network operators. Samsung is said to be willing to supply 5G network equipment, but is still dependent on the readiness of India’s telecom operators.
So far, India’s telecom network companies are still making an appeal to the government of India to bring down the price of spectrum. They are mulling the fact that if the cost is too high, 5G will not be affordable to the majority of India’s population, which in return can slow down realization of returns on investment on the part of the telecom network providers. .
Anyway, with 4G working well in India, there seems to be no hurry to get into the 5G network hype. Amazon continues to show appreciation for its India customer base, by holding the annual Great Indian Sale on Amazon on September 04-08, 2019.