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According to a new report research firm India Ratings, India's total wireless data usage to reach 13 exabytes/month by 2025 about five times the current data usage levels.
However it said the existing technology is inadequate to meet such high data demand; therefore, a judicious mix of fiberisation and 5G roll-out will be required.
Fiberisation, together with complimentary high-speed 5G wireless technology, according to it, would be required as existing 4G ecosystem may face capacity and technological constraints.
Ind-Ra said India can formulate its own customized 5G or 4G+ technology than adopting global standards for 5G in toto to focus on improving user experience or cater to evolving enterprise requirement while avoiding critical applications requiring ultra-low latency.
From the spectrum band perspective, a judicious mix of 700 megahertz (MHz) and C band (3.4-3.6 gigahertz; GHz) would be ideal, as it would ensure wider coverage and provide good capacity. From the network infrastructure perspective, hotspot devices with 3G/4G compatibility will take precedence over handsets in 5G deployment.
Ultra-high frequency E&V bands (70GHz+) can be used as network backhaul for wireless applications and/or as last mile connectivity for fiber rollout. However, industry participants advocated that E&V bands should be available for free as it can only be used as network backhaul and its usage as spreading coverage is limited.
Also, aggregating existing unlicensed spectrum (WiFi) with 5G spectrum rollout can lead to an increase in data speed.
The firm also believes that industry participants need to adopt the same technology to optimally utilize and share the available infrastructure.
This would optimize capex and provide clarity on the financial viability of the 5G rollout, which is of utmost importance for the debt-ridden Indian telecom sector.
This would require unprecedented cooperation among operators to standardize the technology and share infrastructure to make 5G a viable option. The government will also have to play a crucial role in ensuring optimal pricing and availability for the 5G spectrum and right-of-way by allowing installation of smaller cell-sites on light-posts, fly-overs, and other government-owned properties.