NEW DELHI: Peter Jarich, Head of Intelligence, GSMA said that the pace of 5G roll out in India has been “phenomenal”, and the country is expected to bring out its own locally relevant use cases of the fifth-generation technology which may be different compared to the use cases that global markets are exploring.
In an interview with ETTelecom’s Ashutosh Kumar at the publication’s sixth-edition of ETTelecom 5G Congress 2023, Jarich discusses fifth-generation technology trends globally, the road to 5G monetisation, and the learnings that India can share with other countries.
How do you compare India’s 5G roll out progress to date against other markets?
What we have seen is that although 5G has rolled out very quickly across the world, the fastest growing of any mobile broadband technology, the growth in India has been phenomenal. The fact that 5G was launched just towards the end of last year, and operators are saying they have 20 million connections with an expectation of getting to twice that by the end of this year. The growth is phenomenal and incredible.
What are some of the 5G trends that GSMA Intelligence is witnessing globally? Which trends will be prevalent in India in the next 3 years?
The big trend that we’re seeing in terms of 5G globally is really the search for how we monetise it. We know that it’s important for meeting consumer demands and enterprise demands, but how do we make money from it? How can operators pay off the capex? That’s really the big question.
It’s a trend we’re seeing across the world. The flip side, then, is looking at enterprise markets, looking at applications like fixed wireless access those are also trends we are seeing and opportunities, particularly here in India, whether it’s with NSA (non-standalone) or SA (standalone), and looking at things like FWA and new applications.
What are some of the learnings from 5G roll outs that India can share with other countries?
The fact that we have seen such a quick rollout here, I think there is very clear learning. The learning is that in order to get 5G moving, and in order to see this kind of rollout, we need the support, we need the foundations in terms of spectrum, in terms of regulations that can allow rights of way in terms of getting tower setup, but also the will of the operators and the operators being ready to move quickly, and to roll out those networks in a short period of time.
By when do you expect the wide-scale availability of 5G use cases in India?
I think it won’t take long at all. With any of these solutions, you need that base layer of coverage. You need the networks to be in place. We are seeing the operators roll out the network quickly, so it won’t be long.
In terms of what those use cases are, I would think FWA, which we’ve talked about, enterprise and how we push into the private networks. But the wonderful thing I think about India is that we won’t really know what they are. India is going to bring some specific and unique requirements, unique innovations, and innovators. And that’s going to be the fun part. We are going to see the things that we haven’t seen elsewhere in other countries. They’ll really surprise us from India.
Will there be a revision in GSMA Intelligence’s 5G subscriptions forecast for India?
We are constantly looking at our forecasts. We’re constantly looking at how we see the uptake. I think it’s something that we’re always looking at, particularly as operators update us on where they’re at. We always take into account what they say.