5G Technology - Science and Technology HCS mains I Frontier IAS
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5G Technology - Science and Technology HCS mains

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5G Technology - Science and Technology HCS mains

5G Technology:

  • A wireless communication technology using radio waves or radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive data. Beginning in 2019, 5G advances to a full range of services by 2024.
  • 2G and 3G mobile networks relied on microwave wireless networks, 4G LTE introduced IP-based connectivity, the deployment of 5G is based on optical fiber infrastructure.

5G use cases are classified into 3 classes, enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) and Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (UR-LLC).

Three priority areas for India in 5G

  • Deployment: An early rollout of 5G services to maximize the value proposition of 5G as a technology.
  • Technology: To build indigenous industrial and R&D capacity, especially for the design and Intellectual Property.
  • Manufacturing: To expand the manufacturing base for 5G technologies which include both semiconductor fabrication and equipment assembly and testing.
  • Science and Technology HCS mains

Advantages of 5G Technology

  • Faster data speed up to 10 Gbps in comparison to the current 4G network's speed of one gigabit per second.
  • Ultra-low latency, i.e. 5G will transfer data in 1 millisecond unlike in 50 milliseconds by 4G.
  • 5G is the next-generation mobile network technology that will underwrite USD 12.3 trillion of global economic output by 2035, providing support for 22 million jobs by 2035, increasing GDP, and digitizing the economy.
  • A more connected world with the required capacity and bandwidth for the delivery of services like the Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services with unprecedented efficiency.
  • 5G being the next generation of mobile networking standards, promises to deliver an improved end-user experience by offering new applications and services.
  • It will increase energy efficiency, spectrum efficiency, network efficiency as well as efficiency of other systems.

Issues in Implementation of 5G Technology

  • Need of massive investment of approximately Rs. 5 lakh crore to bring in 5G.
  • India has an expensive spectrum, the highest in the world and the allocated quantity is well below global best practices, while 40% of the spectrum is lying unsold.
  • Lack of uniform policy framework causing delays in rolling-out Optical Fibre Cables and telecom towers.
  • Local Regulatory issues prohibiting the cost-effective roll-out of small cells in city centres where 5G is initially expected to be most in demand.
  • Low optical fibre penetration as below 20% sites are connected through fibre rest 80% of cell sites are connected through microwave backhaul.
  • High Import of Equipment (approx 90% of India’s telecom equipment market) due to lack of local manufacturing and R&D.
  • Chances of increased digital divide leaving rural areas behind due to commercial viability.
  • Human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields impacting health.
  • The switch from 4G to 5G will be infrastructure intensive which means mobile service providers will have to upgrade their underlying hardware countrywide in order to provide 5G speeds.
  • To adopt the 5G, indigenous manufacturing is not a solution. The entire manufacturing process is based on global supply chains and hence will affect not only national security but foreign policy and its technological future. The case of Huawei manifests this challenge.
  • In 5G, the network has moved away from centralized, hardware-based switching to distributed, software-defined digital routing, thus denying the potential for choke point inspection and control.


Steps taken:

  • Bharat Net Programme was launched to link 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats through optical fibre network.
  • National Digital Communication Policy 2018 envisaged a digitally empowered economy to meet needs of the citizens and enterprises with a resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services.

Building an End to End 5G Test Bed Program envisaging close collaboration between the universities and small technology companies to build broadly compliant with the 3GPP standards.


Recommendations made by the High-Level Forum on 5G:

Spectrum Policy:

  • 5G spectrum to be allocated in 3 phases:
    • For wireless access, licensed spectrum with an aggregate of 405 MHz + 137 MHz below 4 GHz and 5.25 GHz + 8.3 GHz below 45 GHz.
    • For backhaul, 14 GHz of unlicensed and 10 GHz of lightly licensed spectrum in the 57 to 86 GHz band.
    • For WiFi, opening additional bands of unlicensed spectrum in 5GHz band for outdoor use.

Regulatory Policy:

  • Three expert committees on business, security, and safety segments be created to develop clear guidelines on a regulatory policy that can be promulgated by the Government.

Education and Awareness Promotion Program:

  • The Committee recommends three initiatives: Attract global 5G conference events to India, set up national 5G events, and create a comprehensive skills development program.

Participation in International Standards:

  • Telecom networks need standards to ensure interoperability and to avoid market fragmentation. Getting active in the global standards development ecosystem will open up a new realm of opportunities for India.
    • The Committee recommends short-term initiatives like setting up ‘Standards Project Teams’ to participate in standards activities. For the longer term, the Committee recommends a ten-year strategy for Information Technology Standards in India.

Technology Demonstration and Major Trials:

  • 5G trials will be an important learning opportunity for our Telecom Service Providers (TSP), academia, and industry.
  • The Committee recommends that the major global Original Equipment Manufacturers be invited to conduct major 5G trials in India in collaboration with local partners.

Implementation and Oversight:

  • Create a 5G Implementation Oversight Committee with participation from Government, Academia, Industry, and R&D Labs to supervise 5G program implementation and take corrective steps where necessary.
    • Create a 5G Program Office within DoT with a Program Lead and a supporting team to coordinate all 5G implementation issues among the three departments DoT, Meity, DST.

Core Technology and Manufacturing:

  • Building India’s capacity in core technology development and manufacturing for 5G and more broadly for all Information Technologies needs a deep and long-term effect. However, the enabling measures of the report related to deployment are envisaged to trigger R&D and manufacturing aspects of the 5G ecosystem as well considering India’s market and innovation potential.   
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