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5G in India: Operators may delay rollout by 5 years; Here is why

A number of countries across the globe have rolled out 5G connectivity in limited areas. These countries include South Korea, China, parts of the United States and more.

  • Published: November 28, 2019 9:02 PM IST
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Fifth-generation of communication, also known as 5G is one of the most talked-about topics in the tech world now. A number of countries across the globe have rolled out 5G connectivity in limited areas. These countries include South Korea, China, parts of the United States and more. 5G is the next step beyond 4G and it boasts impressive connectivity bandwidth and speed. A number of countries are racing to set up 5G infrastructure and roll out 5G connectivity. Talking about India, the government has not announced any hard deadlines for the rollout. However, telecom operators including Reliance Jio has claimed that their infrastructure ready for 5G in India.

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This likely indicates that India could be one of the countries in the second wave to roll out 5G connectivity. However, a new report has revealed information that is quite opposite of optimistic hope. According to a report from The Economic Times, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) revealed that it is delaying 5G network deployment “by at least 4 years”. Rajan S Mathews, the Director-General for COAI also revealed the reasons for the delay. He stated that “exorbitant base prices, insufficient spectrum, and unavailability of news bands” is the reason for the delay.

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Mathews clarified that initially, the companies were facing problems with the base pricing. However, now, they are facing a more critical problem of network bands. For context, the companies have to shell out 492 crores for 1 MHz band. However, this much money kills the viability of the entire plan. Current debt and internal pricing make it difficult for telecom operators. As per a past report, the Ericsson Mobility report indicates that 5G connectivity will only arrive in India by 2022. Ericsson revised its initial estimates of 5G reaching India by the next year.

In fact, only 11 percent of mobile subscriptions are likely to opt for 5G by the end of 2025. TRAI has marked the spectrum between 3,300 and 3,600 MHz range for 5G. The government is planning to auction or allocate the spectrum in little pieces of 20MHz. This means that they will have to pay at least Rs 50,000 crores for a mere 100MHz. Talking about the debt, the industry is currently under about Rs 7.5 lakh crore of debt with pending dues of about Rs 89,000 crore.

  • Published Date: November 28, 2019 9:02 PM IST