Indian Telecoms May Have Difficulty Kickstarting 5G
Historically, the subcontinent has been slightly behind the global market where adoption of new technologies is concerned
December 28, 2017
MUMBAI — Like many countries, India expects to deploy 5G by 2020. Its Department of Telecommunications recently formed a panel, including industry representatives, government figures and academics, to support the early deployment of 5G services in the country — targeting 50% of the Indian market and 10% of the global market over the next seven years, according to lightreading.com. The DoT has also recently approved the formation of a 5G test bed at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, which will likely be operational in the next six months.
While there have been a few industry initiatives, including a recent trial of MIMO (multiple input multiple out technology, one of the critical building blocks of 5G) historically, India has been slightly behind the global market where adoption of new technologies is concerned. Indian service providers don’t often make headlines for conducting a groundbreaking trial of a new technology.
So, while there seems to be a push to develop an ecosystem for 5G, this next-generation mobile technology will cost billions to deploy — and even now, Indian telecoms are “wrestling with debt problems and struggling to remain afloat,” according to the same article. “...it is likely to be some time before 5G arrives on Indian shores. Debts across the industry have now soared to as much as 4.5 trillion Indian rupees ($70.2 billion), not including another INR3 trillion ($46.8 billion) that service providers owe in spectrum payment charges. Telco profitability has slumped as prices have tumbled.”