5G Spectrum Stretched to 4th Day: Potential & Cost of 5G and More

What exactly is 5g? why is 5g such a game changer?India's biggest ever spectrum auction or 5g, the fifth generation, airwaves as it's called has now kicked off. We've been hearing about 5g and how it could be a big game changer in India's digital growth, ushering in an era where the internet is at a lightning-fast speed.

First off a quick cheat sheet on what's really happening at the moment of the auction. There are about four huge players in the fray for the battle for the 5g spectrum now Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, VodafoneIdea, and the surprise element is Adani Enterprises.

5g spectrum is basically radio frequencies that carry information for services like telecommunications andare completely wireless, so what has the government done? They are allocating various frequencies to the private sector and companies that bid for it, these companies after winning the bids will roll out the spectrum as services like mobile and internet connectivity. The government this time around has a total of 72 Gigahertz of airwaves, worth 4.3 lakh crore on offer and the auction will be valid for 20 years.

WHAT MAKES 5G SO EXCITING?

5g tech is expected to be faster, 10x than 4g and 30x than 3g. It will change the speed of your downloads from hours to just seconds. 5g will also allow and in fact make it a much greater number of devices to be connected at a faster network. It can support more devices/meters,up to 1000 more than 4g. It will also enable more data gathering and thus sharing in real-time.

The 5g era will allow faster online payments and newer business technologies and speed up the development of numerous projects, propelling India to a truly faster and better experience. This is why the 5g auction has attracted some of India's biggest business leaders from Ambani's to the Adani’s. All are gunning for it after all it could establish their dominance in the new digital space.

HOW EXACTLY IS THE COMPETITION PLACED?

Well, Reliance Jio has made the highest EMD or the Earnest Money Deposit at 14,000 crores, followed by Bharti Airtel at 5500 crores, followed by Vodafone Idea which is 2200 crores, and then comes Adani at 100 crores.EMD gives them eligibility in the entire mix of things. This time a couple of new caveats have also been added to this entire auction mix, in relief for tele companies, spectrum user charges have been removed.

However, on the flip side and this is what many have called an unprecedented move, Spectrum for the first time in India will be allocated and will be up for deployment to private networks as well. This means that large tech companies can set up parallel captive 5g networks, not needing telecom carriers. Essentially tech giants like Emphasis,TCS, and Tech Mahindra can set up their own private 5g network, only for their internal consumption.

HOW SOON CAN YOU GET TO EXPERIENCE 5G?

The auction is expected to conclude by the end of July and the rollout of 5g services across various urban centers is also expected by August of 2023. Experts believe that 5g service will initially be limited to metros and larger cities since only around seven percent of India has 5g enabled smartphones. Interestingly the price of smartphones also if you had noticed had gone down in the last year perhaps a move to spread the reach.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Well unfortunately there isn't much clarity about the prices of 5g plans in India yet. They're expected to be slightly higher than what we are paying for 4g, however, India offers one of the world's cheapest internet services and 5g is unlikely to change that for sure.