Reader's Poll

Which of the following technologies/concepts are likely to witness significant traction this year?
Any data to show


Tele Data

Mobile Subscribers Yearwise comparision

The 5G Wave: Migrating to the next level of wireless communication

January 18, 2018
E-mail Print PDF

By Hari Kamalapuram, Head of Wireless Delivery, Cyient Communication Business

Telecom companies around the world are planning early adoption of 5G technology to leverage its immense potential for services such as virtual reality, internet of things (IoT) and sensor-based smart transportation. Network operators in India are no exception to this change. In September 2017, the government set up a committee to look into the 5G network developments in India and countrywide service roll-out is expected by 2020. The adoption of 5G will be primarily driven by a significant increase in data consumption, increasing digitisation of services, development of smart cities and M2M communication. There is a need to deploy a broad network architecture that can utilise all the available spectrum bands, instead of replacing existing networks. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has also published a consultation paper to frame the standards and rules for rolling out 5G networks and IoT. The paper invites the views of telecom operators on spectrum caps and roll-out commitments for 5G spectrum.

Overcoming the constraints

The Indian telecom industry was slow to roll-out 4G networks. To ensure smooth uptake of 5G, some challenges need to be addressed before the service is commercially launched. The process will be more complex and capital intensive than the previous evolutionary shifts in technology as it calls for discrete changes in transport, radio and key network components.

The key factor driving the 5G momentum is the progress on the long term evolution (LTE) technology front. This has led to the introduction of LTE-A and LTE-A Pro, which incorporate many of the 5G core elements. Even though 5G will perhaps be the most complex and intricate of all mobile network generations rolled out so far, it is a consolidated framework of multiple technologies. The developments in LTE-A and LTE-A Pro signify the potential offerings on 5G networks for businesses and individual users. These include higher speeds, lower latency, larger capacity, and greater security, reliability and support for IoT devices and sensors.

The introduction of 5G is being planned on spectrum bands that are not supporting existing networks. This means that higher frequencies will need to be utilised though they essentially offer less coverage. With a combination of high and low frequency bands utilising the carrier aggregation functionality in 5G, network operators can provide coverage and capacity for a superior customer experience.

Concerted efforts

The roll-out of 5G will also depend on the collaborative efforts of telecom players, independent engineering service providers and academia. Among other partnerships with global firms, Ericsson has joined hands with IIT Delhi to seamlessly deploy these new standards of wireless communication. The proliferation of affordable data plans in India and its reputation as a data-hungry country, presents a vast market potential for 5G-enabled services. Network services are set to migrate to the new architecture sooner or later. The 3.3-3.6 GHz band has been identified as the primary band for the introduction of 5G even before 2020. Backed by the government, the sector has started working on the necessary standardisations and network upgrades.

The way forward in the 5G era

The need of the hour is a well-strategised operational framework that has a distinct fixed and mobile convergence capability. The operators’ strategies for fixed and mobile convergence should focus on achieving a greater market share, reducing churn, and increasing ARPUs by offering bundled services and ubiquitous connectivity. By following the defined strategy, they will be able to achieve operational transformation and meet their long-term objectives for the 5G era.

A significant increase in network traffic and the ever-growing number of connected devices is increasing the demand for better-equipped fibre networks. This sets stringent requirements with regard to performance parameters like reliability and latency. Hence, minimising fibre cuts (splicing) will enhance the survivability and power savings of the 5G transport network. The adoption of a holistic framework based on industry best practices is essential for operators to define and undertake fixed and mobile convergence transformation. The framework should focus on services, people, processes and infrastructure alignment, and will be key to supporting the seamless configuration of fixed and mobile environments. All processes and systems across marketing, sales, activation, provisioning and customer care must be consolidated.

India is the world’s second largest smartphone market (behind China) with over 220 million users, according to industry research, and this figure is only expected to grow. The mobile segment has been the most successful and profitable for communication service providers in recent years, and India offers a huge untapped potential in the segment. Millions of Indians living in rural areas will get access to the internet with the government’s Digital India initiative. The eventual shift to 5G has to be planned in a way that is less taxing for operators, making them agile enough to prepare for future technology disruptions.

  • Most Viewed
  • Most Rated
  • Most Shared
  • Related Articles
 Your cart is empty

Monday morning

Monday morning