Indian mobile phone users will soon be able to experience ultra high Internet speeds via 5G wireless technology with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the next generation mobile network on Saturday.
“Today, on behalf of the country, and the country’s telecom industry, 130 crore Indians are getting a wonderful gift in the form of 5G. 5G is a knock on the doors of a new era in the country. It is the beginning of an infinite sky of opportunities,” the Prime Minister said while launching the service at Indian Mobile Congress.
Telecom industry titans — Reliance Industries Limited CMD Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla — shared the stage with the Prime Minister and committed to a speedy roll-out of “affordable” 5G services in the country.
While Mr. Mittal announced the launch of Bharti Airtel’s 5G services in eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Bengaluru, and plans to cover the entire country by March 2024, Mr. Ambani said Reliance Jio will begin the roll-out this Deepavali and committed to “deliver 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil of our country” by December 2023. Mr. Birla added that Vodafone Idea will begin the journey to roll out 5G services soon.
Digital India push
Mr. Modi pointed out that while India was dependent on other countries for 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, with 5G, India has created a new history and is setting a global standard in telecom technology for the first time. “New India will not remain a mere consumer of technology but India will play an active role in the development and implementation of that technology. India will play a big role in designing the future wireless technology, and manufacturing related to it,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that his government’s vision for Digital India was founded on four pillars — the cost of devices, digital connectivity, data cost and digital-first approach. This approach, he added, led to mobile manufacturing units in India increasing from just two in 2014 to over 200 now, bringing down the cost of handsets. Likewise, he pointed out, India now has the world’s lowest data charges of about ₹10 per GB, down from ₹300 per GB in 2014.
Taking a dig at the previous Congress-led UPA government, Mr. Modi added that this was possible because of the right intentions of his government. “2G ki niyat and 5G ki niyat mein yehi farak hai (this is the difference between the intentions during 2G era and 5G era now),” he said.
Mr. Modi also said that Digital India is more than just a government scheme. “But Digital India is not just a name, it is a big vision for the development of the country. The goal of this vision is to bring that technology to the common people which works for the people, works by connecting with the people.”
The Prime Minister added that the use of 5G technology will not be limited to speedy internet access, it has the capability to change lives.