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A big debate is continuing in India over 5G. It’s not a question of when it will be introduced but whether it’s actually needed at all. How will it be used, and the cost are two important considerations in the ongoing debate. 

There have already been a few problems in the country over the level of rates at a possible 5G spectrum auction. This sees an auction held for electromagnetic spectrum licenses and considering the massive population of India, winning a license may prove very lucrative or would it? 

The view so far is that the rates announced are too high. There’s not been a great deal of movement in this area. It was already low down on the Indian governments to do list. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s probably even lower now. 

You wouldn’t possibly guess that the subject of driverless cars may be important in this discussion. Well, these vehicles require real-time connectivity and 5G can be especially useful here. That’s because this is a low-latency tech, and it is safer to use. 

However, the fact is that we still look to be some way from mass commercial production of such cars. Any documentary about life in India always seems to show the chaotic traffic, the thought of driverless cars on the roads sounds a bit scary. 

Enhanced mobile broadband (emBB) is another use of 5G. This is all about internet speeds becoming even faster. Is this something that is at the top of the wish list of Indian citizens?  That would prove very useful though for those who love to spend their time playing at a mobile Casino. For other users it might not prove to be an important requirement. Then there’s the question of how much this is all going to cost. Initial estimates show that emBB is likely to see costs increase and that’s not something anyone wants. 

Nearly all Indian consumers currently pay for 4G data via a prepaid plan. Higher costs aren’t going to appeal to them at all. If that is going to be the case, then who will take the decision to go and invest in 5G when the consumer market may not be there. This situation also exists when looking at the cost of 5G smartphones.

5G is believed to be of great use in robotic surgery. But that fact wouldn’t necessarily see huge investment being made. The likelihood is that we will se private 5G networks at first. Rather than seeing 5G being used to increase internet speeds, it’d be used in factories as has been the case in Germany by Mercedes-Benz

The argument over whether India needs 5G would be over if the words of N.K. Goyal were acted upon. He’s the chairman of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association. His statement on the issue of the need for 5G said “there cannot be a single use case or application which cannot be operated on 4G.” He added that if 5G is introduced, then a consumer launch is anything but imminent.

(guest article)

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