NEW DELHI: India would play an important role in developing global 5G technology standards, with the newer technology poised to become a robust part of the Digital India initiative, a top official of the Department of Science and Technology said.
“As 5G standards process has started globally, India would be one of the important players in formulating standards for it,” Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), told ET, adding that earlier in 3G and 4G, India had missed the bus in giving inputs for relevant standards.
Sharma is also a co-chairman of the high-level 5G Forum constituted by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in September 2017 to evaluate and prepare a roadmap to adopt the newer technology in tandem with the global timeline of 2020, and position India as a globally synchronised participant in design, development of 5G-based technology applications.
The government-led panel also includes representatives from private players: Gopal Vittal, chief executive, India & South Asia at Bharti AirtelBSE -0.62 %, and Sanjay Mashruwala, MD of Reliance Jio .
Telecom Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI), as a member of 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project), is representing India in 5G standards discussions worldwide. As part of 3GPP, first specifications for 5G technology have been recently released with support from the likes of AT&T, BT, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Verizon and Huawei.
The Indian government is eyeing 5G technology to boost the initiative — Digital India — launched in 2014 at an initial outlay of ₹1.13 lakh crore with the aim to digitally facilitate 1.3-billion Indians through a bouquet of citizen-centric services.
“Digital India is all about empowering people and enabling industries bringing relevant skillset for India. 5G, leading to better connectivity, would be a strong part when comes to Digital India,” Sharma said.
The official believes unprecedented opportunities drive applications in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, healthcare and manufacturing.
“This (5G) will propel industry 4.0 where we need machines to communicate between each other with integrated communications,” he said. “5G is being also thought because of the need for inexpensive, fast and reliable communications.”