Additional secretary (telecom) V L Kantha Rao, who is leading the Indian government delegation at the Mobile World Congress, told ET that with the development of the 5G and 4G stacks locally, India is now ready to become a major player in the telecom equipment space.
“The 5G stack story is what we have come here (MWC) to tell the world,” Rao said. “The way both the government and the industry are working together in developing telecom products in India, to supply to the rest of the world. The latest example is the 5G stack, which is now fully developed in India and ready to be deployed and exported to any part of the world”.
He added that India has also developed an end-to-end 4G stack, which has been tested for 10 million calls. “So now, we have a mature 4G stack that is getting deployed in India and other parts of the world.”
The development of 4G and 5G stacks have been one of the top priorities of the government as the country not just wants to become self-sufficient in telecom equipment manufacturing but also aims to be an exporter, competing with the likes of Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung. To help achieve this, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has been asked to roll out its 4G network utilising the locally developed 4G and 5G India stack.
Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said recently that India was in talks with 18 countries across the world that are keen to implement the 4G-5G technology stack.
“I’m glad to say that in the first six months of 5G rollout, they have surpassed all the targets that we have given them for the next three years. This shows that the telecom service providers in India have seen the opportunity of 5G rollout and set up more than 1 lakh sites in 350 towns,” Rao said.The telcos have even announced that by the end of this year, they will cover the majority of the towns in the country.
“So, this is a big plus for the rollout of 5G services in India, but more than rolling out 5G services for consumers, it is very important that we roll out 5G use cases for industry, for education, health, agriculture and all these sectors because 5G is not just about faster video download or watching movies, it is also about the enterprise solutions,” the official said.
Since a lot of industry automation can ride on 5G, the DoT has documented a set of 100 5G use cases and circulated to most of the stakeholders. “We have been requesting ministries and the private sector to adopt these 5G use cases. This is the next challenge, and we are working very hard on that,” Rao said.
The official said this year’s India delegation to MWC has been the largest delegation till date. “We have hosted more than 50 companies under the India pavilion. And this shows the interest that the world is showing in Indian products and Indian services in the telecom sector. And the very fact that GSMA has recognized India’s leadership under the government leadership award shows the kind of government-private sector partnership that is happening in India,” he added.
(The reporter is in Barcelona to cover the Mobile World Congress at the invitation of OnePlus.)