Govt plans Rs 6 lakh cr spectrum auction to ensure affordable 5G

In News:

  • The government is planning the largest-ever auction of telecom spectrum, at an estimated value of Rs 6 lakh crore.
  • This will enable introduction of affordable 5G services, including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) internet in rural areas.

 

News Summary

  • The government will auction nearly 8,600MHz of mobile spectrum, including spectrum for the current bouquet of telecom services, and also for the 5G services.
  • The plan was cleared by the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body on telecom matters.

 

Government considerations for 5G:

  • Inclusive and Social 5G
    • It will be ensured that TRAI recommendations are in line with the vision of ensuring ‘broadband for all’, as well as driving in an ‘inclusive and social 5G’.
    • To ensure the spread of digital services and 5G in rural areas, over 3 lakh common service centres (CSCs) in rural areas will provide at least two wifi hotspots in 1 lakh gram panchayats and high-speed internet to nearby development institutes.
  • Make in India:
    • 5G hardware, patents, IPR and other technologies to be developed in India, so that proprietary knowledge and domain remains within the country.
  • Increasing the reach of 5G
    • Non- telecom companies will be encouraged to participate in the auction.
    • 5G usage will be pushed further for affordable health and education services in rural areas.
    • Reserve price for Spectrum auction may be relaxed for wider participation.
  • Fibre to the home initiative: Telecom fibre, which has already been laid out across rural India under the Bharat Net programme, will be used to provide internet at homes through fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) initiative.
  • Increasing data and voice carrying capacity: To take the load off highly-stretched telecom towers and infrastructure, use of fibre will be ecouraged to connect towers to increase the data- and voice-carrying capacity.

 

 

About fifth generation (5 G) of Internet

  • It is the next generation cellular technology that will provide faster and more reliable communication with ultra low latency.
  • Peak network data speeds: 2-20 Gigabit per second (Gbps).
  • The ultra low latency offered by 5G makes the technology desirable for Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine communications.

Note: Latency is the amount of time data takes to travel between its source and destination.

Benefits:

  • It may form the backbone of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine communications, including driverless vehicles, tele-surgery and real time data analytics.
  • It will extend the use of wireless technologies (for the first time) across completely new sectors of the economy from industrial to commercial, educational, health care, agricultural, financial and social sectors.
  • It may offer leapfrog opportunities by providing ‘smart infrastructure’ that offers lower cost and faster infrastructure delivery.
  • One of the primary applications of 5G will be implementation of sensor-embedded network that will allow real time relay of information across fields such as manufacturing, consumer durables and agriculture.
  • It can also help make transport infrastructure more efficient by making it smart.
  • 5G will enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, making driverless cars, among other things, a reality.

Economic Impact:

  • 5G is expected to create a cumulative economic impact of $1 trillion in India by 2035.
  • 5G-enabled digitalisation revenue potential in India will be above $27 billion by 2026.
  • Additionally, global telecom industry GSMA has forecast that India will have about 70 million 5G connections by 2025.

Note: Even after the entry of 5G into the Indian networks, the earlier generation mobile technologies (2G, 3G and 4G) will continue to remain in use and that it may take 10 or more years to phase them out.

Challenges

  • Besides the spectrum, 5G will require a fundamental change to the core architecture of the communication system.
  • Simply upgrading the existing Long Term Evolution core will not be able to support the various requirements of all 5G use cases.
  • It is anticipated that the industry might require an additional investment of $60-70 billion to seamlessly implement 5G networks.

 

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