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    5G Remains Talk of the Town but Infrastructure is a Big Challenge

    The government, all telecom players, and infrastructure providers are all gung-ho about next-generation technology 5G which will see the light of the day in India by the end of 2022. But the infrastructure for 5G in the country remains a challenge.

    To begin with, telecom regulator TRAI plans to issue a consultation paper on the non-discriminatory and mandatory deployment of telecom infrastructure within building premises to effectively address the right-of-way (RoW) issues particularly in-building solutions (IBS) including optic fiber cable.

    Keeping in mind Digital connectivity in times of 5G, the new consultation process is likely to advocate ratings of buildings based on their readiness for appropriate digital connectivity and inside coverage, indicating a need for certain modifications in the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) or the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, and urban development framework.

    Industry estimates suggest that nearly 70% of mobile traffic originates from indoors only.

    The auction for 5G spectrum is expected to happen in the second quarter of 2022, while the telecom department (DoT) has already extended trial spectrum allocation to telecom carriers up to May 2022 to demonstrate locally-relevant use cases.

    Country’s top player Reliance Jio successfully conducted trials for connected robotics over its indigenous 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) and 5G Standalone (SA) Core network. Jio 5G Robotics has implemented a wide canvas of services – From heavy lifting and logistics at manufacturing warehouses, to healthcare robots assisting medical staff – from remote ultrasound enablement to industrial automation robots.

    Jio claims to have developed its own homegrown 5G stack which it plans to export abroad once testing its competence on a pan-India scale.

    Jio also added maximum active mobile users among the top telcos in October 2021 and retained its market leadership on the overall active user base count.

    Mukesh Ambani-led Jio added 3.1 million active users, taking its October active user base to 358 million. Bharti Airtel, by contrast, lost 0.8 million, with its resultant active user base dipping to 346 million.

    Loss-making Vodafone Idea (Vi) continued to lose active mobile users — as many as 1.4 million in October – dragging its active user base down to 234 million.

    Apart from this, the country’s first 5G technology trials for rural broadband began on Thursday at Ajol village, with a base transceiver station (BTS) installed 17km away at Unava town in Gandhinagar district. Virtual-reality-connected classrooms, 5G immersive gaming, and artificial intelligence-assisted 360 degrees cameras with real-time video streams are being tested.

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