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HomelatestAsia Heads towards 5G with India Being Challenged

Asia Heads towards 5G with India Being Challenged

India does face a major challenge when it comes to 5G and has to compete with other countries globally although it is not really lagging behind. It has carved a niche for itself in Asia in the mobile world.

At Shanghai, the Mobile World Congress 2019 was organized by GSMA, 5G. From the exhibitors to the panelists, the tradeshow proved spectacular and more so in Shanghai’s New International Expo Center where everyone harped about the benefits 5G connectivity thus being poised to bring to the users. In fact, in this context India faces some big challenges in order to get to 5 G. And for a good reason, as this decade does come to a close, the next generation of mobile connectivity is all set to go live in a lot of mobile markets, many of them in Asia. South Korea in fact already has a functioning 5G network, while China is expected to start 5G rollout in 2020. Five more nations are also in the fray to roll out 5G this year which include Australia and Philippines, while in 2020, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Vietnam are also expected to embrace 5G, at least to a certain extent.

India is also on the list of countries expected to roll out 5G connectivity in a limited capacity by 2020 even though India faces some big challenges in order to get to 5G.
GSMA’s in-house research team, GSMA Intelligence, has predicted that the Asian mobile economy is split in two groups. One group which does include nations such as South Korea and Australia are optimistic about the future of 5G and have already invested heavily in the infrastructure, while other nations such as India are being cautious about it and continue also to strengthen their existing 4G networks. The GSMA does predict that it will be the consumers, but the industries that will be leading the growth for 5G connectivity across the world. The idea of intelligent, connected solutions for cities, factories and the likes will rather be given much importance initially, followed by more people buying 5G-enabled devices.


Asia, in fact, has been the biggest contributor to subscription growth in recent years, while India and China to make up for half of the world’s mobile population today. However, Asia will not be able to sustain the high growth rate beyond 2020 on account of saturation in highly penetrated markets and poverty, inequality and other social barriers in less developed and less penetrated countries. Despite this scenario, GSMA does predict Asia will contribute 370 million new subscribers by 2025.


India can boast about over 750 million unique subscribers and happens to be a global giant in the telecom industry. The country will be having an additional over a quarter of the world’s new mobile subscribers till around 2025, second only to China. Yet, India faces some big challenges in order to get to 5G.

India will be able to offer affordable, sufficient and exclusively licensed spectrum across the three key frequency bands for 5G networks. The spectrum in India is rather allocated based on auctions.

In order to become a leader in 5G technologies, Indian operators do have to figure out a way to decrease their debts and also invest more in modernizing networks. GSMA does predict around 5 percent of mobile users will be on 5G by 2025 in India. Furthermore, to aid swift adoption, the government should indeed revise the spectrum pricing which is still quite high.

To improve the viability, GSMA does suggest India revise its legacy regulatory policies in order to suit the modern needs better, bring down the price of the spectrum and support operators with a new taxation policy that encourages further investment.

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