India’s heartbeat didn’t pause for a minute during the Covid-19 pandemic as traffic moved from the cities to villages and offices to homes, all because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India vision, said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, on Saturday.
Addressing the 6th India Mobile Congress, marking the launch of 5G services in India, Mittal said: “Today is the start of a new era during the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ period which will bring new energy, awareness, and opportunities for people in the country. The rural areas, which faced some shortfall in services so far, will now get access to them.”
Praising PM Modi, he said: “We have a leader who not only understands technology closely but also how to use it for the country’s progress. What PM Modi can do, no one can. I have seen him during his stint as Gujarat chief minister when he ensured all villages were connected via e-Gram. He made drip irrigation popular. In infrastructure development, Gujarat always occupied the top spot.”
Mittal said the telecom industry used the prime minister’s Digital India vision, without which, the pandemic would have destroyed the nation. He also acknowledged the efforts of industry colleague and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, praising him for pushing forth 4G in India. “He made us run to keep pace with him,” Mittal said.
The Bharti Enterprises chairman also praised PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ pitch as he confessed that he had never thought India would become a manufacturing hub, especially for electronics. “But today, this has become a reality,” he said. Mittal said the ‘Start-Up India’ vision had also ensured that new unicorns were being born every month and the 5G technology would provide the necessary fillip to newer entrepreneurs.
“In October 1982, I saw a push-button telephone in Taiwan and brought it to India to start its manufacturing here. Today, 40 years later, I am proud that the same Bharti Airtel is the pioneer in 5G technology.”
Concluding his address, Mittal announced that the operator’s 5G telecom services would be launched in eight cities, including four metros, and progressively cover the entire country by March 2024.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, was also effusive in his praise for the prime minister as he lauded his leadership and vision because of which “we are witnessing a generational leap in technology”.
“The telecom industry has been one of India’s key growth engines, catapulting India into the top five economies of the world. It continues to play a transformational role, touching every aspect of our daily lives and work. Today we are set to make a giant leap into the future. As PM Modi launches 5G today, the telecom industry will further ignite the digital dreams of 1.3 billion Indians and many thousands of enterprises. It will also set the stage for the country to become a $5 trillion economy in the next few years.”
Talking about 5G, he said the technology would augment services and add scale, creating impact in critical areas such as Industry 4.0, automated manufacturing, smart cities, smart homes and immersive gaming others. “It will also accelerate immersive education, remote health and smart agriculture to enable inclusive growth and prosperity in rural India, thus realising PM’s philosophy of ‘Benefit to Antyodaya’,” Birla said.
The Aditya Birla Group chairman said Vodafone India was committed to taking India on “this new phase of the country’s digital journey”. “We will soon begin our 5G rollout journey. The launch of 5G services marks a new beginning of an exciting journey for India. The telecom industry will play its role in bringing alive PM Modi’s vision for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’,” he said.
5G is the next telecom standard and it will be the fastest network in the evolution of mobile broadband. It is believed to be about 10 times faster than 4G, delivering peak data transfer speeds of up to 20 gigabytes per second or more than 100 megabytes per second. According to a report by Ericsson Consumer Labs, more than 100 million users with 5G-ready smartphones wish to upgrade to 5G in 2023 while a majority of them are open to adopting a higher data-tiered plan in the next 12 months.
PM Modi launched the 5G services in India on Saturday. In August, India’s biggest-ever auction of telecom spectrum received a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore of bids, with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio leading the auction with Rs 88,078 crore worth of bids, and Airtel coming second with a bid of Rs 43,084 crores. The spectrum auction started on July 26 and ended on August 1 this year.
The government said that 5G technology will offer a wide range of benefits to the common people. It will help in providing seamless coverage, high data rate, low latency, and highly reliable communications. Also, it will increase energy efficiency, spectrum efficiency and network efficiency. 5G technology will help in connecting billions of Internet of Things devices, will allow higher quality video services with mobility at high speed, delivery of critical services such as tele-surgery and autonomous cars among others.
Indian telecom operators will use Mid and High band spectrum to roll-out of 5G technology-based services capable of providing speed and capacities which would be about 10 times higher than what is possible through the current 4G services.