India is aiming to roll out a 6G telecom network that will offer ultra-fast internet connectivity by the end of the decade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
India currently has 3G and 4G telecom networks and companies are preparing to roll out 5G in the coming months.
Speaking at the TRAI telecom regulator’s silver anniversary event, he said the rollout of 5G network is estimated to add $450 billion to India’s economy.
“This will not only increase internet speed, but also the pace of development and create jobs,” he said, adding that 5G technology will bring positive changes in the country’s governance, quality of life and doing business.
It will spur growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics, he said.
Connectivity, Modi said, will determine the country’s progress in the 21st century and hence the modern infrastructure must be put in place.
According to the prime minister, a task force has started work to roll out the 6G network by the end of the decade.
Firing at the former Congress-led UPA government, Modi said the 2G era was a symbol of political paralysis and corruption.
The country transparently transitioned to 4G under his government and is now transitioning to 5G, and TRAI has played a very important role in this transition, Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that whenever the industry has faced challenges such as back taxes or adjusted gross receipts, his government has responded quickly to the crisis and implemented reforms wherever necessary.
“These efforts have created renewed confidence. As a result, over the past 8 years, more than one and a half times more foreign direct investment has been made in the telecom sector than before 2014,” Modi said.
Teledensity and internet users are expanding rapidly, he said, adding that mobile manufacturing units in India have grown from 2 to over 200 and the country is now the world’s largest hub for mobile manufacturing.
The PM also said his government has encouraged healthy competition which has resulted in India having one of the cheapest telecom data rates in the world.
The domestic 5G test bed in the telecom sector is an important step for India’s self-reliance, he added.
Telecoms Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw said the country’s scientists and engineers had developed a full 4G stack ready for BSNL deployment and the 5G stack is in an advanced stage of development.
“We should see our homegrown 5G technology stack by the end of this year,” Vaishnaw said.
He also said that by the end of this month, reforms will be implemented in the spectrum management branch of the Ministry of Telecommunications – Wireless Planning Commission.
Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said homegrown 4G telecom equipment will be deployed on the BSNL network by the end of this year.
Trai Chairman PD Vaghela said implementing the regulator’s recommendation on 5G services and rolling out 5G trials for industry and startups will create new venues for all vertical sectors that would lead to overall economic growth.
He said that in the future, it will be important for regulators to share and create infrastructure together to reduce the cost of deploying services, and TRAI has started working with infrastructure regulators.
I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra said while there has been consolidation in the telecoms sector, the broadcast segment is an entrant almost daily.
He said that the media and entertainment industry is expected to grow from $25 billion to $70 billion by 2030 and TRAI, as the broadcasting regulator, has an important role to play in guiding that growth.