PM Modi launches 5G, calls it step in new era

Oct 02, 2022 01:12 AM IST

The 5G services began with Bharti Airtel rolling out services in eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Bengaluru.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched 5G services in the country and said that the fifth generation wireless telecom services for mobile phones will mark the beginning of a new era.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the 6th India Mobile Congress at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the 6th India Mobile Congress at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

The 5G services began with Bharti Airtel rolling out services in eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Bengaluru. Reliance Industries Ltd said in August that it will invest 2 lakh crore to roll out its 5G services in key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by Diwali and across India by December next year. Vodafone Idea Ltd, meanwhile, has so far not indicated any fixed timeline for its 5G roll-out.

“Today, 130 crore Indians are getting a wonderful gift in the form of 5G from the country and from the telecom industry of the country,” the Prime Minister said at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 as he launched the 5G services – calling it the dawn of a new era.

“5G is the beginning of an infinite sky of opportunities… With speeds multiple times faster than 4G and lag-free connectivity, 5G can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real time. It holds the promise of revolutionising sectors from health care and education to agriculture and disaster monitoring,” Modi said.

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The 5G services will cover the entire country over the next couple of years – Jio promises to do that by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024. Modi said that while the nation was dependent on foreign countries for technology for 2G, 3G and 4G telecom services, India has created history with indigenous technology playing a major role in 5G.

“With 5G, India is setting a global standard in telecom technology for the first time,” he said.

The Prime Minister said his government’s vision for “Digital India” was founded on four pillars – the cost of devices, digital connectivity, data cost and the digital-first approach.

India now has the world’s lowest data charges, as tariffs fell from a high of 300 per 1 GB of data in 2014 to just 10 per GB, he said. Going by the average consumption of 14 GB of data per month, the data cost has come down from 4,200 to 125-150, the PM added.

While saying that digital payments had increased, PM Modi said technology has truly become democratised now.

After the launch, all three major telecom operators demonstrated one use case to show the potential of 5G technology in India.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio connected a teacher from a school in Mumbai with students in three different locations in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Odisha. The Prime Minister got a demonstration by Mukesh Ambani’s eldest son Akash Ambani, who recently took over as chairman of Jio Infocomm’s board, the digital division of Reliance industries.

“Within the next two months, by Diwali, we will launch Jio 5G across multiple key cities, including the metropolises of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. By December 2023, which is less than 18 months from today, we will deliver Jio 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil of our country,” Mukesh Ambani recently told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

“India may have started a little late, but we’ll finish first by rolling out 5G services that are of higher quality and more affordable,” Ambani said at the event on Saturday, which was jointly organised by the Department of Telecommunications and the Cellular Operators Association of India. Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was also present at the event.

Also read: ‘Many people made fun of my Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision’: PM Modi at 5G launch

The Vodafone Idea test case demonstrated the safety of workers in an under-construction tunnel of Delhi Metro through the creation of a ‘digital twin’ of the tunnel on the dais. The digital twin will help give safety alerts to workers in real-time from a remote location.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, told ANI: “Vodafone-Idea has made a lot of preparations. The network is compatible for converting into 5G. As the prime minister said, this is not just a new technology but a revolution. Vodafone-Idea will make all efforts to be a part of this revolution.” Aditya Birla Group is a promoter company of Vodafone Idea along with the UK-based Vodafone Group.

In the Airtel demo, students from Dankaur, Uttar Pradesh witnessed a lively and immersive education experience to learn about the solar system with the help of virtual reality and augmented reality.

Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Bharti Mittal said that the launch of 5G is the beginning of a new era and since it is happening during “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it makes it even more special.

“With the efforts of the Prime Minister, this will usher new energy in the country. We are fortunate to have a leader in the Prime Minister who understands technology very minutely and deployed that to the development of the country in an unmatched manner,” Mittal said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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