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6G: India’s Path to Mobile Network Leadership

Image credit: IndiaDST; X
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With the rise of mobile communication, India contributes greatly to the massive increase in global data volume. It is anticipated that by 2030, the country’s share may increase to one-third or even more of the total data generated from standard mobile communication.

DST Secretary Abhay Karandikar visiting stalls at the India Mobile Congress; Image credit: IndiaDST; X

India’s indigenous 5G technology, along with a dedicated team of researchers in academia, industry stakeholders, and startups, forms an ecosystem that could “bring the country to a position of strength in terms of mobile network technologies,” according to the Department of Science and Technology Secretary (DST), Abhay Karandikar.

During his session at the Second International Workshop on 6G Standardisation, held as part of the India Mobile Congress (IMC), Karandikar noted that there is a unique opportunity for India to steer 6G standardisation in a way that has not been done before. It has the potential to emerge as a leading global exporter of such technologies in the future.

He explained that 5G marked a significant departure from the 2G and 3G mobile networks, and 6G has the potential to be a true game-changer. India offers a fertile use case scenario for shaping 6G research and standardisation in a profoundly distinct way.

“We will have a variety of use cases from very high to a very low data rate, from very stringent latency environments to latency tolerant applications, heterogeneous radio access technologies, and a range of access devices. This diversity in India will be a useful test scenario for cellular mobile communications, and also devices connected through Wi-Fi, drones, satellite, terrestrial networks, sensors as well as IoT [the Internet of Things],” Karandikar noted.

However, there is still a long way in terms of conducting research, standardisation, and patent filings. Additionally, there is a considerable amount of work to be done on the core network itself, which will present considerable scalability challenges. To address this, an efficient heterogeneous radio access technology capable of funnelling large volumes of data into the core networks would prove highly beneficial. Other research challenges can find support from the Department of Science and Technology through initiatives like the National Mission for Cyber Physical Systems (NMICPS).

Apart from primary telephone connectivity, the scope of these initiatives can extend to communication in the agriculture, health, transportation, and logistics sectors, among others. Furthermore, with the Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF) soon to be operational, some of these advanced areas can have new mechanisms of funding in place, Karandikar said.

During the event, he visited the booths set up by the Technology Innovation Hubs established under NMICPS and discussed the technologies showcased. Dignitaries from the government, academia, and industry attended the event, including representatives from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), and the Telecommunication Engineering Centre.

The India Mobile Congress (IMC) is the largest telecom, media, and technology forum in Asia, collaboratively organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). By exhibiting groundbreaking innovations, it aims to propel India into the global spotlight, establishing it as a beacon of comprehensive digital transformation that shapes the future.

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