Clear Road map for 5G Auction

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    In News

    • Addressing the seventh post-budget webinar, India’s Prime Minister said the Union Budget 2021-22 has clearly laid down a roadmap for the 5G spectrum auction in the country.

    About

    • The 5G spectrum auction date in India is currently unknown.
      • This is because the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is still working on providing recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
    • The Budget emphasized on sunrise sectors like Artificial Intelligence, Geo-spatial Systems, Drones, Semiconductors, and Space technology, Genomics, Pharmaceuticals and Clean Technologies to 5G.

    About 5G Technology

    • It is the latest upgrade in the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks with reduced latency than 4G.
      • 5G technologies offer an extremely low latency rate, the delay between the sending and receiving information.
      • From 200 milliseconds for 4G, 5G brings it down to 1 millisecond (1ms).
    • It works in three bands of spectrum with their respective pros and cons.
      • Low Band Spectrum
        • It shows great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange with a maximum speed limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
        • Telcos can use and install it for commercial cellphone users who may not have specific demands for very high speed internet.
        • It may not be optimal for specialized needs of the industry.
      • Mid-Band Spectrum
        • It offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
        • It may be used by industries and specialized factory units for building captive networks that can be molded into the needs of that particular industry.
      • High-Band Spectrum
        • It offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength.
        • Internet speeds have been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (gigabits per second).

    Benefits 

    • It will enable the development, testing and proliferation of 5G technology system components, cross-sectoral use cases, besides setting up the foundation for the development of the “6G Technology landscape” in the country.
    • The users will be able to stream videos with multiple camera angles during sports matches or even play immersive video games using VR headsets or other accessories.
    • It will also enable a mesh of connected Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices and services with zero-fail rate, as in the case of connected cars.
    •  Other Benefits 

    o Healthcare: Healthcare providers can create sensor networks to track patients and share information faster than ever before.

    o Public Safety: A vast network and rapid response times mean that public works can respond to incidents and emergencies in seconds rather than minutes, and municipalities can react fast and with reduced costs.

    o Autonomous Vehicles: 5G will allow vehicles to communicate between them and with infrastructure on the road, improving safety and alerting drivers to travel conditions and performance information.

    Challenges

    • Lack of a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands.
    • Lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with the Telcos.

    Global Status of 5G

    • More than governments, global telecom companies have started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers on a trial basis.
    • Telcos in developed countries like the US and China have already been providing commercial 5G connections to their users.
    • South Korean company Samsung started researching 5G technology in 2011 and has taken the lead in building the hardware for 5G networks for several companies.

    Suggestions/ Way forward

    • 5G will require a fundamental change to the core architecture of the communication system and India should be ready with a robust, scalable, and intelligent infrastructure that is capable of handling massive traffic growth.
    • This year’s budget was focused on making use of technology to help the government and the country to achieve the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
      • It will also make India a self-reliant country.
    • India is familiar with the principles of science, but we need to learn to make maximum use of it for ‘Ease of Living’.
    • Stressing the centrality of communication centres and fintech, India should look for indigenous ecosystem with less foreign dependence for the both.
    • Private sector should take maximum advantage of the change of rules for the use of geo-spatial data and the infinite opportunities that have emerged due to the reform.
    • A portal has also been proposed for skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling of youth in the budget.
      • With this, youth will get the right jobs and opportunities through API based trusted skill credentials, payment and discovery layers.
    • There are 2 lakh crore rupees worth PLI schemes in 14 key sectors, in order to promote manufacturing in the country.

    Source: TH