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India Unveils 5G Test Bed at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

A fifth-generation (5G) testbed at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras), dedicated to developing and demonstrating 5G technology-based locally relevant use cases, is expected to be operationalised soon, according to an official from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The IIT-Madras testbed will be functional and open soon for the industry to use for 5G testing purposes, the official said, adding that the telecom operators have already started field trials across the country, and the outcome is likely to be reviewed by the department. Recently, a private network provider informed the department about some of its innovative solutions based on 5G technology, which it developed, and feels that such could be a “game-changer” once commercial deployments begin.

In 2018, the DoT funded IN₹2.25 billion crores (US$30 million) to IIT-Madras to set up a testbed for next-generation technology at its premise to allow telecom service providers and their technology partners to undertake trials and demonstrate local use cases in a run-up to 5G deployment in the country. The government expected over 300 people to be industry-ready and trained in 5G technology through the testbed facility. The testbed targets close collaboration between the universities and startups and aims to create an ecosystem that closely resembles a real-world 5G deployment. The final version of the testbed will be fully compliant, which means “anyone’s handset should work with anyone’s base station (institutions), an official had stated.

Earlier this year, a report claimed that India is likely to have 330 million 5G users by the end of 2026. Also, by this time, 5G subscriptions could reach 3.5 billion, accounting for around 40% of all mobile subscriptions. India has the biggest rise in the intention to upgrade, with 67% of users expressing an intention to take up 5G once it is available- an increase of 14 percentage points over 2019.

About 26% of the mobile subscriptions in India by 2026-end would be 5G. Further, 4G subscriptions are expected to grow at a CAGR of 3%, going from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million by 2026. Currently, India ranks second in the average data usage in the world. The average data usage in India was 13 GB per month till the year 2019, which increased to 14.6 GB in the year 2020. By 2026, the average data consumption in India is expected to be 40 GB per month.

The global 5G infrastructure market size is projected to reach US$49.64 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 42.7% from 2021 to 2028. According to a report by Verified Market Research, the growth of the 5G infrastructure is growing as a hike in its deployment due to its several advantages, including higher efficiency than 3G and 4G and high-speed data transmission. Significant advancement in the field of telecommunications and development in the domain of the mobile network has directly influenced the growth of the 5G infrastructure market. The global demand for high-speed data to boost the live streaming of videos, video calling, and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) gaming are anticipated to fuel the demand for 5G infrastructure.

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