5G and beyond: Unleashing potential of hyperconnectivity

The ecosystem is slowly maturing, and be sustainable. In education, we are having virtual classes. 5G will be of immense help. In agriculture, there is precision farming use case. Industry 4.0 is another area.

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update

5G and beyond.

At the Telecom Leadership Forum 2024, there was a panel discussion on 5G and beyond: Unleashing potential of hyperconnectivity. It was moderated by Jaideep Ghosh, former partner, KPMG India.


Saurabh Mittal, Head, Standards & Tech Ecosystem, Bharti Airtel, said India has done phenomenally well in terms of rollout. There has been increase in customer experience. DQL index for India has been among the best. 5G has made high-quality Internet services available everywhere. Investments in 5G meant that capacity constraints of 4G were getting solved. FWA has emerged as a promising scenario. We cover almost all towns across India. FWA also gives the probability to offer broadband. With 5G, we are seeing factory automation. FWA will be a trigger for monetizing. There will be multiplicity of use cases. MBB will be a major driver.

Sudaksinha Laha, Head of Services, MIST and ADM, Cloud Software & Services, Ericsson, noted that growth had slowed down in equipment. Lot of network service was rolled out over last two years. This is a very common case when a new generation is launched.

Today, we have telemedicine as use case. The distribution of doctors is about 1 doctor for 1500 people. And, 80% are staying in urban areas. We need low latency, high bandwidth network to build use cases. We need to train medical staff to manage from rural area. 5G is providing all this, and make it happen. 

The ecosystem is slowly maturing, and be sustainable. In education, we are having virtual classes. 5G will be of immense help. In agriculture, there is precision farming use case. Industry 4.0 is another area.


Device ecosystem

Panjak Mahindroo, Chairman, ICEA, talked about the device ecosystem. India is the only country today where handset sales are more than service revenues. There is a serious undermining, and not a healthy sign. India is paying too little for service. It may impact investments in the sector. 5G has been a fantastic rollout in India. By Oct. 2022, we had 147 models of 5G available. 

We have the lack of prototypes and design in India. China is a wealthy country today, because of this. The market between $100-250 is under supplied. Prices of smartphones are also going up. In network, we are currently having a duopoly. India is doing good work in 5G.

Prof. NK Goyal, President, CMAI, and Chairman Emeritus, TEMA, spoke from regulatory perspective. We have lot of startup companies. We are manufacturing fiber, cable, etc. We are having 4G and 5G, thanks to C-DoT. Use cases will also come up. We probably do not have much to ask from the government regarding regulation. With AI, we may have humans make humans unnecessary in the world.


Mahindroo said that we have so far been protecting our industry. Vietnam has already created a remarkable impact on its economy. You need to be on zero duty for imports. We have become more confident as a country.

What about 6G?

Ghosh stated that a 6G vision paper was also launched. India wants to have a statement in 6G. How can India play out? Laha said there needs to be lot more serious seamless network creation. There should be focus on understanding the levers on our network. They have to interoperate seamlessly. There will be lot of work regarding system integration. 

Complex network optimization services will also come up, and we will need AI/ML there. Our skill levels requirements will be changing. Network slicing also creates dedicated resources.


Prof. Goyal said we need to see demand for 6G. We need to have increased growth and make India achieve Viksit Bharat by 2047. 6G is going to change the world in future. India will be at the focus point for 6G. 

Mittal added that, as pointed out, the services revenue is lower than the handset revenue today. We definitely need to fix that. We are now working on use cases for 6G. It should be able to solve the inherent problems. 5G is continuously evolving. Rel-19 was released, and soon, Rel-20 will be announced. These will be foundation stones for 6G. Detailed work on 6G may finish by 2029. By that time, we will see significant improvement in 5G networks. 

Healthcare and telehealth will also happen differently. Education is also evolving. Another area is public safety. In 5G IoT, we have RedCap or reduced capability. This will be very interesting proposition for deployment scenarios. There will be intersection of AI/ML, ecosystem use cases, etc. Laha added that we must also remember sustainability. 6G will be AI-native, and need lot of GPUs.

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