Indian telecom giants to invest $19.5 billion on 5G infra by 2025: GSMA report

The Indian telecom giants are expected to invest around $19.5 billion in the development of advanced infrastructure for 5G by 2025, as per a report from GSMA. The report suggested that 5G could benefit the Indian economy by $445 billion between 2023 and 2040 or more than 0.6 per cent of the GDP forecast for the year 2040. This would reflect the large number of 5G use cases that will be implemented in the main sectors of the Indian economy.

5G benefits are expected to be released in new applications in the manufacturing sector (representing 20 per cent of the total benefit) as well as the retail, ICT and agricultural sectors,” reflected the findings.

However, while the Indian government has assigned two carriers of 250 MHz each in the E-band to address the current need for supporting 5G rollouts, It may not be sufficient in the 5G era given the requirement for high-capacity backhaul for supporting use cases and increased traffic.

The report stated, “Clear policy guidelines on the allocation of the backhaul spectrum are necessary.” Notably, 5G would be a key enabler of enterprise digital transformation across manufacturing units, energy and utilities, banking, transportation, healthcare, sports and retail in India.

The report titled ‘India: on the road to a digital nation’ states that the consumer and enterprise segments both present significant opportunities for 5G in India. It further says, “Reforms are required to support the development of advanced telecom infrastructure as a fundamental driver for a digital society.”

There still exists a substantial digital divide in India, with lack of literacy and skills remaining the greatest barrier which prevents large groups of people from participating in the digital economy and the social and economic benefits it can bring to their lives.

The GSMA report also mentions, “Given the importance of 5G to India’s digital future, it has become critical for the government and the mobile industry to collectively evolve and ensure the sustainable growth of the mobile industry.”

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel Ltd is all set to launch its 5G services this month and will cover urban India by 2023-end, Gopal Vittal, the chief executive of the second largest telecom operator, said in an email communication.

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