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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

jio 5g: Airtel takes on Reliance Jio: Desi 5G may not ‘help’ India

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NEW DELHI: Telecom operator Airtel doesn’t seem too enthused by Desi 5G. The idea to develop India-specific 5G standard may lock the country out of the global ecosystem, warned Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal. “There are sometimes talks that India must have its own 5G standard. This is an existential threat which could lock India out of the global ecosystem and slow down the pace of innovation. We could have let our citizens down if you allow that to happen,” said Vittal speaking on the inaugural day of India Mobile Congress 2020.
He added that the country needs to create an open ecosystem and promote applications development for India and by India and for this businesses need to come together. “We have to set aside our differences and be part of one, the private sector, telcos equipment players, device players, manufacturing companies, IT companies, everyone can benefit as the growth of technology makes us all more productive. So we should collectively sign on to create a 5G ecosystem.”
Citing example of CDMA and GSM, Vittal, said, “Standards are what make an ecosystem. Many years ago, there was a fork in the road of which technology to back CDMA or GSM. GSM won, not because it was a better technology. In fact, CDMA was the better technology, but GSM won because it was the more accepted technology. GSM won, because it became part of the global ecosystem more companies in the world embraced it. While CDMA died.”
Vittal also stressed on the need to keep spectrum affordable for they are the nerves of digital India. “We must have enabling policies that continue to keep the access to technology, affordable and easy access to layout fiber, which are the nerves of a digital India. Affordable spectrum allows us to invest in building networks that India deserves,” he said. Airtel has earlier said that the company will refrain from bidding for 5G spectrum if the reserve price is high. Telecom regulator Trai has recommended a price of Rs 492 crore per Mhz for spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 Mhz band which is considered suitable for 5G services at present.
Airtel, however, has said that it will not bid for this spectrum at the Trai-recommended price as companies will need to shell out about Rs 50,000 crore to acquire a decent quantity of frequencies in this band.
Airtel CEO’s statement followed a speech by RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani at the event, where he mentioned that Jio’s 5G network “will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components”. Jio has sought spectrum in certain frequencies from the Department of Telecom for holding trials of the latest 5G technology. The company’s wholly-owned US-based subsidiary Radisys has already started selling some of the 5G solutions to foreign companies.

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