FIFTH GENERATION (5G) : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: NOVEMBER - 2017


India has seen good growth in last two decades. This growth has largely been good for the country but it has also formed a digital divide in the country. There are people who connected with the digital world, this group mostly covers urban India, and then there is still very large population which is unconnected with the digital world. If India's growth of last few decades is to be sustained this digital divide should be bridged soon. The Global Information Technology report for the World Economic Forum places India 68th in its 'networked readiness index' that ranks 140 countries. Digitalisation also has an important role in governance, it helps in reducing the leakages, involves citizen more in governance process and it is also helpful in making the government accountable.

In order to obtain all the benefits given above Government of India has started Digital India programme. Digital India has been FIFTH GENERATION envisioned as an ambitious umbrella programme to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. This programmed has been envisaged and coordinated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). There is also a collaboration with various Central Ministries and State Governments. The Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the monitoring committee of Digital India programme. All the existing and ongoing e-Governance initiatives have been revamped to align them with the principles of Digital India. It takes together a large number of ideas into a single comprehensive plan so that each of them remain a part of larger goal.

Great role in above mentioned developments is being played by the mobile industry. Mobile industry regularly updates its functioning like providing higher speed of internet, higher working capacity etc. The mobile industries transition from 4G to 5G, which could take a decade or longer, will see network operators, infrastructure vendors and device manufacturer's progressively implement next generation technologies. It is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic sectors in the world.. The development of wireless technologies has greatly improved people's ability to communicate and live in both business operations and social functions.

From the second generation (2G) mobile communication system debuted in 1991 to the 3G system first launched in 2001, the wireless mobile network has transformed from a pure telephony system to a network that can transport rich multimedia contents. The 4G wireless systems were designed to fulfill the requirements of International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-A) using IP for all services. In 4G systems, an advanced radio interface is used with orthogonal Fifth Generation frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), multiple-input multipleoutput (MIMO), and link adaptation technologies. 4G wireless networks can support data rates of up to 1 GBps for low mobility, such as nomadic/local wireless access, and up to 100 MBps for high mobility, such as mobile access. More powerful smart phones and laptops are becoming more popular now a days, demanding advanced multimedia capabilities. This has resulted in an explosion of wireless mobile devices and services. The EMO pointed out that there has been a 92 percent growth in mobile broadband per year since 2006. It has been predicted by the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) that 7 trillion wireless devices will serve 7 billion people by 2017; that is, the number of network connected wireless devices will reach 1000 times the world's population.

One of the most crucial challenges is the physical scarcity of radio frequency (RF) spectra allocated for cellular communications. Cellular frequencies use ultra-highfrequency bands for cellular phones, normally ranging from several hundred megahertz to several gigahertz. These frequency spectra have been used heavily, making it difficult for operators to acquire more. Another challenge is that the deployment of advanced wireless
technologies comes at the cost of high energy consumption. The increase of energy consumption in wireless communication systems causes an increase of CO2 emission indirectly, which currently is considered as a major threat for the environment. Moreover, it has been reported by cellular operators that the energy consumption of base stations (BSs) contributes to over 70 percent of their electricity bill. In fact, energy-efficient communication was not one of the initial requirements in 4G wireless systems, but it came up as an issue at a later stage. Other challenges are, for example, average spectral efficiency, high data rate and high mobility, seamless coverage, diverse quality of service (QoS) requirements, and fragmented user experience (incompatibility of different wireless devices/interfaces and heterogeneous networks).

India is at the cusp of a next generation of wireless technology 5G. 5G has been conceived as a foundation for expanding the potential of the Networked Society. A digital transformation brought about through the power of connectivity is taking place in almost every industry. The landscape is expanding to include massive scale of "smart things" to be interconnected. Therefore, the manner in which future networks will cope with massively varied demands and a business landscape will be significantly different from today.

The economic benefits from the 5G technology are also quite immense. As per the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Committee on Digital Economic Policy, it has been stated that 5G technologies rollout will help in,

a) Increasing GDP
b) Creating Employment
c) Digitizing the economy.

For India, 5G provides an opportunity for industry to reach out to global markets, and consumers to gain with the economies of scale. Worldwide countries have launched similar Forums and thus, India has joined the race in 5G technologies. We are open for collaboration with them.

The Term of Reference of the High Level Forum for 5G India 2020 shall be: -

a) Vision Mission and Goals for the 5G India 2020, and
b) Evaluate, approve roadmaps & action plans for 5G India 2020.

The primary goals of the forum are to achieve:

  • early deployment of 5G in India
  • a globally competitive product development and manufacturing ecosystem targeting 50% of India market and 10% of global market over next 5 to 7 years.
  • The forum will complement the eco-system by focused actions in the following areas:
  • Research Ecosystem - for IPR development, standards development and proof of concepts through research projects, PPP projects, testbeds and pilot roll-outs.
  • Regulatory Framework - including spectrum assignments and a start-up friendly regulatory environment to enable leapfrog and embracing of innovative technologies.
  • Inclusive Business environment - with special focus on investment incentives favourable to start-ups and innovators and enablement of Venture capitalists.

Forum will constitute a number of Steering Committees in different domains.

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