New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services on 1 October at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan during the sixth edition of India Mobile Congress, the country’s flagship telecom event.
Modi also inaugurated the event, which will run till Tuesday and showcase the various use cases of 5G.
Speaking at the event, the PM said, “New India will not remain a mere consumer of technology, but India will play an active role in the development and implementation of that technology. India will play a big role in designing the future wireless technology, and manufacturing related to it.”
PM Modi noted that while India had been dependent on other countries for previous generations of telecom services — 2G, 3G and 4G technologies — it’s different with 5G.
“India is setting a global standard in telecom technology for the first time, it is the beginning of an infinite sky of opportunities,” the PM said.
Industry leaders reacted to the news with high hopes.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, said Reliance Jio will be launching 5G services across the country by December 2023, he also elaborated how it will transform sectors like education.
“It will not be an exaggeration to say that 5G is like a Digital Kamadhenu, the heavenly cow that grants whatever we desire,” Ambani said.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprise, said, “Along with Digital India, the Prime Minister also took forward the Start-up India campaign and soon enough, India started producing unicorns”
“With the advent of 5G, I’m sure that the country will add many more unicorns in the world,” he added.
Mittal added that Airtel expects to launch 5G services to several cities by March 2023, and across India by March 2024.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group (which backs Vodafone-Idea), said the country will see limitless potential for 5G development and use cases in the years to come.
Now that 5G services have been kicked off in India and added Vi, or Vodafone Idea, too expects to go 5G soon, he added.
Towards digital India
At the event Modi said that the number of mobile manufacturing units have gone up from two, eight years ago, to 200 now.
He also added that India is now exporting mobile phones worth thousands of crores as opposed to zero mobile phones in 2014.
“Just as the government started a door-to-door campaign to provide electricity, worked on the mission of providing clean water to everyone through the Har Ghar Jal Abhiyan, and delivered gas cylinders to the poorest of the poorest people through the Ujjwala scheme, our Government is working in a similar manner on the goal of Internet for all”, PM Modi said.
Internet users in the country have increased to 80 crores from six crores in 2014, and from less than 100 panchayats in 2014 now there are 1.7 lakh panchayats connected by optical fiber, he stated.
Modi noted the affordability of the Internet in India. The cost of data has reduced from 300 rupees per GB to about 10 rupees per GB.
Modi pointed fingers at some members of society’s elite class who questioned if the poor would even understand the meaning of digital.
He said that he always had faith in the “inquisitive mind of the common man” and that the poor are always ready to accept new technology.
(This is an updated version of the story)
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)