After 4G let-down, telcos hang hopes on 5G: Tech Mahindra to roll out services by 2019


The average data usage in India has been continuously growing. It is expected to grow from 3.9 GB per month per smartphone by end-2017 to 18 GB per month per smartphone by 2023.

Experts believe the data growth comes on the line of rising LTE ( Long-Term Evolution) subscriptions, which is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminals; increasing smartphone penetration and demand for video-driven contents. All the three factors combined will drive usage of 5G in the country.

Some industry estimates suggested 5G has the potential to enable a $27.3-billion revenue opportunity for Indian telcos by 2026.

In an effort to tap the growth opportunity, Tech Mahindra is planning to roll out 5G services by 2019. Following the technology roadmap, the company has also set up a lab in Bengaluru in association with US chipmaker Intel, a Mint report said.

“We have set up a lab with Intel in Bengaluru. We are getting ready for the (5G) roll out,” said C P Gurnani, CEO and Managing Director of Tech Mahindra told PTI.

He added that the company has already re-skilled about 30,000 of its employees in handling emerging technologies. The company plans to re-skill the remaining 75,000 employees by the end of the current calendar year.

The announcement comes on the line of the announcement of the department of telecommunications (DoT) which is all set to roll out a roadmap for 5G technology in India. The test-bed strategy is expected to be operational by June this year.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is also laying the ground for companies wanting to conduct research for the next phase of mobile technology.

Players throng to capture 5G market

Tech Mahindra is not the only which is testing the 5G technology. Other private players are also conducting the 5G trial test.

Last week, Telecom company Bharti Airtel in collaboration with Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei conducted the first 5G trial in India.

According to the companies’ statements, the data speed of over 3 Gbps during the test drive was achieved, which is the highest for a mobile network in 3.5 GHz band.

Last year in August, Huawei released its 5G-oriented mobile bearer solution ‘X-Haul’. The solution, which is now available in India, will help operators in India build end-to-end 5G networks.

Besides, Swedish telecom gear-maker, Ericsson, which is readying itself for 5G in India, has invested around $4 billion in research and development.

Experts believe 5G holds the key to the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and can enhance Internet of Things (IoT) in the country. Once established, 5G networks promise to offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks.

But often promise and delivery don’t match

UK-based OpenSignal release a report “State of LTE”, in which India recorded the slowest 4G LTE speed in the world at an average speed of 6.13 Mbps. The country was ranked last out of 77 countries on the list.

To put things in comparison, Singapore recorded the fastest 4G network with an average speed of 46.64 Mbps, followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

Reliance Jio might have topped the chart of 4G broadband service providers by recording a peak download speed of 25.6 Mbps for November 2017, but the speed is far from any consistency in the Internet speed.

Last year, OpenSignal had released a similar report on Reliance Jio. It claimed that even as Reliance Jio’s average 4G LTE speed was 3.9Mbps. The average peak speed – when the network was performing at optimal conditions neared at 50Mbps.

Vodafone, the closest competitor to RJio, registered a top download speed of 10 Mbps followed by Bharti Airtel 9.8 Mbps and Idea Cellular 7 Mbps in November 2017, as per TRAI data.

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