Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 17 inaugurated the country's first 5G testbed to enable startups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities.
The testbed has been set up at a cost of around ₹220 crore.
Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the Prime Minister said the 5G testbed is an important step for self-reliance in the direction of critical and modern technologies.
"I invite youth friends, researchers and companies to utilise the testing facility for making 5G technology," Mr. Modi said.
The 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras.
In the absence of a 5G testbed, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation in a 5G network.
The other institutes that participated in the project are IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).
The testbed facility will be available at 5 different locations.
6G telecom network by end of decade
India is targeting the rollout of a 6G telecom network, which will provide ultra-high-speed internet connectivity, by the end of the decade, Mr. Modi said.
India currently has 3G and 4G telecom networks and companies are gearing up to launch 5G.
He said it is estimated that the 5G network rollout will add $450 billion to the Indian economy.
"This is not just increasing internet speed but also the pace of development and creating jobs," he said, adding the 5G technology will bring positive change in the governance of the country, ease of living, and ease of doing business.
It will boost growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, and logistics, he said.
Connectivity, Mr. Modi said, will decide the progress of the country in the 21st century and so modern-day infrastructure needs to be rolled out.
According to the Prime Minister, a task force has started work on rolling out the 6G network by the end of the decade.
Taking potshots at the previous Congress-led UPA government, Mr. Modi said the 2G era was symbolic of policy paralysis and corruption.
The country, under his government, has moved transparently to 4G and is now going to 5G and TRAI has played a very important role in this transition, Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that whenever the industry has faced challenges like retrospective tax or adjusted gross revenue, then his government has responded to the crisis expeditiously and undertaken reforms wherever required.
"These efforts have created new trust. The result of this is that over one-and-a-half times more FDI in the telecom sector has come in the last 8 years compared to the amount that came into the country before 2014," Mr. Modi said.