Making India 5G Ready. Current Affairs Topic for Science & Tech. UPSC . EDEN IAS

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Making India 5G Ready. Current Affairs Topic for Science & Tech. UPSC . EDEN IAS


5G is the next generation of cellular communications technology with evolutionary and revolutionary services that can have a deep impact on India. 5G can unleash new economic opportunities and societal benefits giving it the potential for being a transformational force for Indian society. It can help the country leapfrog the traditional barriers to development as well as advance the ‘Digital India’ vision. The cumulative economic impact of 5G on India can reach one trillion USD by 2035.

A 5G High Level Forum was set up by the Government in September 2017 to articulate the Vision for 5G in India and to recommend policy initiatives and action plans to realize this vision. The three priorities for India in 5G are

  • Deployment – rolling out early, efficient and pervasive 5G networks to maximize the value offered by this new technology.
  • Technology – building India’s industrial and R&D capacity in the design and IP dimensions of 5G.
  • Manufacturing – expanding the manufacturing base in 5G for both semiconductor fabrication as well as assembly & test plants.

A Steering Committee was constituted with Prof. A J Paulraj, Professor, Stanford University as the Chair. Seven task forces were set up under the Steering Committee to study – Spectrum Policy, Regulatory Policy, Education and Awareness Promotion Program, Application & Use Case Labs, Development of Application Layer Standards, Major Trials and Technology Demonstration and Participation in International Standards.


5G refers to Fifth Generation and mobile wireless generation generally refers to a change in the nature of the system, speed, technology, frequency, data capacity, latency etc.

5G is a wireless communication technology using radio waves or radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive data. It is the next generation mobile networks technology after 4G LTE networks which promises to elevate the speed of the wireless networks from the present speed of about 45mbps to about 1Gbps.5G technologies will enter services gradually, beginning in 2019 and advance to a full range of services by 2024.

5G will accommodate technologies like IOT (Internet of Things), Artificial intelligence and mobility in our lives. As per the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Committee on Digital Economic Policy, 5G technologies rollout will help in increasing GDP, creating employment and digitizing the economy.


The Government has launched a program titled ‘Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed’ to advance innovation and research in 5G. This three year program began in March 2018, with a budget authorization of Rs 2,240 million. The program has been awarded to IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, CEWIT, SAMEER and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. The program envisages close collaboration between the universities and small technology companies.

Ericsson has installed the first public access 5G test bed at IIT Delhi in July 2018 for developing applications in the broadband and low latency areas providing access to the industry and institutions to work on India specific usage scenarios and applications. The industry is encouraged to take lead and establish more public test beds in the country.

On the standards front, DoT and TSDSI in collaboration with the IITs have been successful in getting the Large Cell Low Mobility (LMLC) use case accepted in the IMT 2020 requirements. LMLC reflects the needs of rural India and other similar countries. TSDSI is currently working with 3GPP to include specifications in Release 15 standard that support the LMLC use case.


  • NITI Aayog recently pointed out that the digital payments market in India is set to become a trillion-dollar industry in the next five years. 5G will be the key support in the same.
  • 5G may offer ‘leapfrog’ opportunities by providing ‘smart infrastructure’ that offers lower cost and faster infrastructure delivery.
  • The cumulative economic impact of 5G on India can reach one trillion USD by 2035.
  • 5G will enable ‘vehicle platooning’, a technology that exploits 5G’s low latency communication capability to pack vehicles into platoons with low inter-vehicle spacing despite travelling at high speeds.
  • Platooning can double vehicle density in roads promoting efficient and safer use of the limited road infrastructure.
  • It will enable use of robotics for precision manufacturing, particularly where humans cannot perform these functions safely or with the necessary precision.
  • It can also enable better logistics to track goods from raw materials to product delivery and improved sharing of expensive design and manufacturing resources across the country.
  • In agriculture, from precision farming, smart irrigation, improved soil and crop monitoring, to livestock management, 5G can be used.
  • ‘Smart grids’ and ‘smart metering’ can be efficiently supported enabling growth of alternate energy technologies.
  • In health-care, 5G can enable more effective tele-medicine delivery, tele-control of surgical robotics and wireless monitoring of vital statistics.


  • Integration of various standards and standardization is a major challenge faced by 5G.
  • No common architecture for interconnecting various engineering services.
  • There’s a lack of infrastructure even for 4G in India, installing 5G is going to be a major task
  • The Indian market hasn’t realized full potential of 4G and experiences of Artificial intelligence are at novice stage.
  • Shortage of instruments in generating skilled manpower in this technology.
  • Lack of uniform policy framework is again an inhibiting factor for the same.
  • At present, India imports 90% of the telecom equipments. India is not a key player is technology development or manufacturer of telecommunication equipment. Like its predecessors, 5G is also likely to rest upon either technology inputs or equipments made by foreign vendors in India. So 5G introduction will further increase the net imports of telecom equipments.


5G holds the key to growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IOT (Internet of Things). Moreover, it has applications from cloud systems to stream software updates, music, and navigation data to driverless cars. From Agriculture to Pharma and Infrastructure to educations it is going to be an important aspect for New India and its continuous development. Hence the following steps can be of some help

  • Rolling out early, efficient and pervasive 5G networks
  • Building India’s industrial and R&D capacity in 5G
  • Expanding the manufacturing base in 5G.
  • The cost of spectrum relative to per capita GDP is high and should come down
  • Expert committees should be created to develop clear guidelines on regulatory policy.
  • Education and Awareness Promotion Program to attract global 5G conferences to India, National 5G events and a comprehensive skill development program.
  • New civil infrastructures should be mandated to support 5G
  • Develop in line with different Government programs and Policies like Innovation Cell, IMPRINT-II and Start-Up India’s Academia Alliance Program etc.

With significant capabilities in both telecommunications and software, India needs to catalyse the economic growth and development, and to generating new- age jobs and livelihoods, and ensuring access to next generation services for its citizens. Thus the introduction of 5G in India becomes more important.




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