Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a rapid rollout of 5G services and underlined the criticality of the collective roles of government and industry for this to happen. Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday, Modi said that 5G technology would boost India’s economic fortunes by a whopping $450 billion in the next 15 years. He added that the country is poised to roll out futuristic 6G broadband services by the end of the decade. “…it (5G) won’t merely boost internet speeds, but also rapidly ring in economic progress and boost jobs creation,” he said. He added that the next generation technology will bring positive change in the governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business. It will also boost growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, and logistics.
The PM’s comments come at a time when the government plans to auction 5G airwaves in June-July and is targeting the first 5G call by the August-September time frame.
Modi also sought the active participation of tech startups in the upcoming 5G blitz, saying the government would streamline policies around R&D infrastructure to develop a vibrant 5G ecosystem. He said “connectivity” would determine the pace of India’s progress, noting that “a task force had started work on rolling out 6G services by the end of the decade”. 6G tech is expected to bring in data speeds 50 times faster than 5G.
Over the years, he said, the government had won the confidence of the global investor community, after “it swiftly addressed big challenges faced by the telecom sector, such as the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) and the retrospective tax cases,” and even pushed through reforms to settle the latter.
The PM was alluding to a Bill that the Centre had introduced a few years ago to scrap the retrospective tax amendment that had been introduced back in 2012, a move that helped UK's Vodafone settle its protracted tax dispute.
Modi said the combination of “trust and confidence” had been reflected in a surge in foreign direct investments in the telecom sector in recent years.