NEW DELHI: Even as 5G, 6G, made-in-India phones and the role of tech revolution in bringing social justice dominated the seventh edition of the country’s flagship telecom summit ‘India Mobile Congress’, satellite communication managed to steal some of the thunder. At New Delhi’s Bharat Mandapam, which had last month hosted the G20 leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the audience in a packed hall on Friday morning that India will lead the world in 6G technology. After the fastest roll-out of the 5G technology in India, the government is now working on becoming a leader in 6G, the PM said amid loud cheer from the crowd made up of industry honchos, bureaucrats and others.
Sharing the dais with the PM were Reliance Jio Chairman Akash Ambani, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, who sits on the board of Vodafone Idea. They stayed with the 5G theme talking about their expansion plans, but the two biggest telcos—Jio and Airtel—made major announcements on the satellite telecom front, an area that’s been in the news for uncertainty on spectrum allocation method.
Mittal said that Bharti Airtel-backed Eutelsat OneWeb’s satellite communication service will be available in India from next month. He said the company had established its ground station in Mehsana, Gujarat. Akash Ambani, who made his debut at India Mobile Congress, showcased the JioSpaceFiber technology to the PM. The company on Friday announced JioSpaceFiber as India’s first satellite-based giga fiber service to provide high speed broadband to previously inaccessible geographies within the country. Jio’s venture with a Luxembourg-based satellite telecom network provider is likely to unleash intense competition with Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb.
The PM, however, did not speak on satellite telecom, while keeping the focus on the core areas of the sector. “In 5G, we reached from roll out to reach out stage,” he said. Within one year of roll-out, 400,000 5G base stations have been set up in India. “Not only 5G, we are in the direction of becoming a leader in the 6G space.”
Modi highlighted that unlike in 2014, when India was a net importer of mobiles, the country today is the world’s second-largest mobile manufacturer. He added that the country is also manufacturing electronic goods worth Rs 2 trillion for exports. “Today we all are proud that the whole world is using ‘Made in India’ phones,” he said, adding that the need of the hour is to take forward the success in mobile and electronics and establish a strong semiconductor manufacturing sector in the country.
Pointing out that India is lucky that its young generation is leading the country’s technology revolution, he said in broadband speed, India’s rank has risen from 118 to 43. He also said that the speed and availability of connectivity have a huge impact on the social and economic situation in the country. For this, the Centre’s top priority is to provide access to capital, resources and technology. The Centre is also focussing on democratising technology, he said. “For me, this is the biggest social justice…. The more we use technology, the more we will go closer to becoming a developed nation.”
At the event, Modi also gave the award of “5G Lab” to 100 institutions. Earlier at the event, IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that India is emerging as a telecom technology developer, exporter and leader. Telecom is the gateway of digital, Vaishnaw said, citing the speedy roll-out of 5G services in India and the nation’s clear 6G vision.
Akash Ambani said the 5G rollout in India has been the fastest and promised to expand 5G connectivity further.
Jio had installed 85 per cent of 5G cells deployed in the country, he added. “Deploying a 5G cell every 10 seconds, Jio has installed over 1 million 5G cells across all 22 circles of India,” he said.
Mittal said 5,000 towns and 20,000 villages have already been covered with Airtel’s 5G network and promised to keep his earlier commitment to complete the rollout nationwide by March 2024. He stressed India is becoming a world leader in the manufacturing of digital technology.
Birla spoke about Vodafone Idea developing a range of 5G use cases across diverse sectors such as agri, infra, automotive and logistics, among others. While the company is yet to begin offering commercial 5G services, the company would invest significantly to complete the rollout of 5G services and expand 4G services, he said.
Bharti Airtel, which showcased its state-of-the-art artificial intelligence-powered, self-optimised network, drew the PM’s attention to Airtel’s LEO satellite constellation.
Source: Business Standard