Prime Minister Narendra Modi ushered India into the 5G era on Saturday with the launch of 5G telephony services in the country at the India Mobile Conference 2022. Available in select cities initially, the ultra-high-speed internet on mobile phones will progressively expand to the entire country over the next few years.
Hailing the momentous occasion as a historic day for the country, PM Modi said the government focussed on four pillars. “First, the price of the device. Second, digital connectivity. Third, the cost of data. Fourth, and most important, the idea of ‘digital first’,” Modi said, adding that his government is working on “internet for all”.
“This is a historic day for 21st Century India. 5G technology will revolutionise the telecom sector. This summit is global but the voice and event is local,” Modi added, saying the feat was a product of initiatives like Digital India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
“At the time of 2G, 3G and 4G, India was dependent on other countries for technology. But with 5G, India has created new history. With 5G, India is setting a global standard in telecom technology for the first time,” the PM further said.
Talking about the success of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Modi said: “Many made fun of my Atmanirbhar Bharat. But we increased mobile phone manufacturing units in India. Eight years ago, there were only two mobile manufacturing units. Today, there are over 200 units in India. We are at number two in the world.”
“From exporting zero mobile phones in 2014, today we have become a mobile phone exporting country worth thousands of crores. Naturally, all these efforts have had an impact on the cost of the device. Now we have started getting more features at a lower cost,” the PM added.
Capable of supporting ultra-high-speed internet, the fifth generation or 5G service is expected to unleash new economic opportunities and societal benefits, serving as a transformational force for Indian society.
After the 5G launch by the PM, the three major telecom operators – Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea — demonstrated one use case to show the potential of 5G technology in India.
Mukesh Ambani‘s Reliance Jio connected a teacher from a school in Mumbai with students in three different locations in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Odisha.
In the Airtel demo, a girl from Uttar Pradesh witnessed a lively and immersive education experience to learn about the solar system with the help of virtual reality and augmented reality. The girl shared her experience with the Prime Minister by appearing on the dais through a hologram.
The Vodafone Idea test demonstrated the safety of workers in an under-construction tunnel of Delhi Metro through the creation of a ‘digital twin’ of the tunnel on stage.
Earlier at the event, the PM went around pavilions at the India Mobile Congress set up by different telecom operators and technology providers to get a first-hand experience of what 5G can do.
He started with Reliance Jio’s stalls, where he witnessed the ‘True 5G’ devices displayed and experienced the use case through Jio Glass. Flanked by Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel and Kumar Mangalam Birla of Vodafone Idea, he spent time understanding the indigenous development of end-to-end 5G technology. He thereafter visited stalls of Airtel, Vodafone Idea, C-DOT and others.