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5G – Unfolding India’s era of digital convergence: Study

To present the future opportunities of 5G in the tech industry, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Arthur D. Little on Tuesday released their study, titled, “5G – Unfolding India’s era of digital convergence”.

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Kolkata: Fostering industry transformation, and reimagining conventional systems with 5G, can unleash the potential of digital convergence in a hyperconnected society.

To present the future opportunities of 5G in the tech industry, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Arthur D. Little on Tuesday released their study, titled, “5G – Unfolding India’s era of digital convergence”.

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Released on the side-lines of NASSCOM Tech Innovation Conclave (NTIC) 2022, the study aims to present a holistic view of 5G in India, analysing its impact on the economy and related opportunities for different industries while assessing the challenges for ecosystem players in its implementation.

With the recent successful conclusion of spectrum auctions by the Government of India, the country is gearing pace to usher in the new wave of digital services that will drive mobile/internet penetration at the grassroots and serve as the critical enabler of digitalization. Aided by increasing market penetration, a strengthening economy, and sectoral reforms, 5G is expected to power up to 2% of India’s GDP, amounting to $180 bn by 2030.

India currently has the 2nd highest number of telecom users in the world, with 1.1bn users, of which 740 Mn are 4G customers. However, with the launch of 5G in the country, the shift is expected tooffer rapid upgradation of customer experience. 5G is expected to create new value through hyper-connectivity and become a catalyst for digital transformation across industries. Sectors such as healthcare, energy & utilities, manufacturing, and retail are expected to benefit the most from large-scale 5G adoption.

5G is a key enabler to the country’s economic engines which requires fast and reliable internet connectivity. Use cases such as efficient resource usage, data driven cultivation in the field of agriculture; real time cyber-attack detection, smart deployment of unmanned vehicles in Defence; predictive fleet management, route planning and tracking in logistics; cloud-based patient profiling, robotic surgeries in the field of healthcare etc requires seamless internet connection for effective functioning. Technology sector in India is well positioned to transform these use cases with large scale deployment and use of 5G.

Commenting at the launch of the study, Debjani Ghosh, President NASSCOM said, “The next era of digital connectivity brought forward by 5G has the potential to change the socio-fabric of India and transform societies at large. For India, 5G provides an opportunity for industries to augment the pace of digitization at the grassroots level and for consumers to gain with economies of scale. However, achieving this will require effective ecosystem collaboration between Telcos, OEMs, Infrastructure companies, and the Government to increase consumer adoption and market readiness to unlock large-scale benefits of 5G.”

Barnik Chitran Maitra, Managing Partner, Arthur D. Little India and South Asia said. “With over 500 million 5G users in India by 2030, 5G can be truly transformational for the economy. With public and private 5G networks enabling use cases across multiple sectors such as mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, energy & utilities, 5G can have an impact of over USD 180 Bn on India’s economy in 2030.”

As industries look to 5G to meet the demands of a digitized world, the need for pro-investment policies and modernized regulatory regimes has never been greater. 5G adoption is dependent on multiple factors such as dedicated R&D investments to develop India-specific use cases, enterprise penetration, device affordability, and consumer adoption.

Certain aspects such as adequate infrastructure upgradation and fiberisation for 5G deployment, along with network densification need to be addressed to realize the utmost benefit of the technology across industries. The government needs to equip the ecosystem by catalysing a skilled workforce through effective academic and industry collaboration, implementing robust policies that involve vocational training in rural areas, providing financial incentives and minimizing regulatory overlaps with other ministries for seamless 5G deployment.

Cybersecurity infrastructure and privacy protection mechanisms need to be enhanced to minimize cyber threats and attack vectors. Similarly, steps should be taken to address the power needs of 5G and ensure the adoption of Green 5G to enable sustainable 5G adoption.

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