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Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) Partners for 5G Tech Research

The Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras) is collaborating with a private player to research 5G technology. Through the partnership, the two sides will innovate in the 5G space and enable 5G frameworks validation. They will promote research towards the development of a low-cost and low-frequency 5G network setup for better connectivity in far-flung parts of the country. The objective of this partnership is to create a 5G base station and a single-box solution to enable better connectivity in rural areas. The private player, a global technology consulting company, will provide its expertise on the research capabilities and offer relevant infrastructure to support this initiative.

An expert stated that 5G promises to facilitate the next level of innovation to build a smarter society, but it is important to ensure that these benefits reach every part of the country. The partnership aims to leverage the technology to connect people from remote parts of India in a better way. An official from IIT-Madras noted that the Institute’s 5G testbed project is an effort to encourage Indian start-ups and the industry to take an early lead in 5G. The goal of the project is to build a testbed that closely resembles real-world 5G deployment.

A representative from the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Madras said that the 5G technology has immense potential and could prove to be the best option to bridge the digital divide in India. For evolved urban areas, it will help advance and enhance the benefits of digital technologies over a faster connectivity network. The partnership will build and validate use cases leveraging the 5G testbed for application in domains like smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, smart cities, and media.

Last November, the Minister of Communication announced that the government would indigenously design and manufacture telecom software and equipment to run 6G networks. The technology will also be exported to other countries. Apart from 6G, the government also plans to launch indigenous 5G technology, with the development of core software for the technology to be completed by the third quarter of next year.

As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the auctions for the 5G spectrum are also likely to happen in the second quarter of 2022. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reportedly started the consultation process for 5G spectrum auctions, and this is expected to be completed by February or March 2022. TRAI has granted an extension to the telcos for 5G trials, and the deadline has been shifted to 31 March 2022.

Earlier this year, the Cabinet had approved a set of nine structural and procedural reforms to address the short-term liquidity needs as well as long-term issues of telecom companies. As part of these reforms, the government had given the telcos an option to go for a four-year moratorium on payment of deferred spectrum and adjusted gross revenue dues. About 26% of the mobile subscriptions in India by 2026-end are expected to be 5G. 4G subscriptions could 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.

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