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The Indian government has formally announced its strategy for the implementation of 5G technology, and has claimed that it could lead global subscriptions of the revolutionary technology along with North America by 2022.

India’s Telecom Minister, Manoj Sinha said the country has already commenced work on the next-generation technology and indicated that any future policies in relation to telecommunications will have a concentrated focus on emerging trends in a new era when data will drive the sector more than voice.

The Telecommunications Minister said it was ‘critical’ that they prepare for an ecosystem where emerging trends such as Internet of Things and AI are mainstream technologies.

He said: “We need to think of and prepare for an ecosystem where Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are mainstream, and connectivity is seamless, designed to improve the quality of e-governance and education, as well as to enable financial inclusion, smart cities, and an intelligent transportation system amongst other things. 5G will speed up the digital transformation in a number of industries, enabling new use cases in areas such as IoT (Internet of Things), automation, transport and big data.

Sinha confirmed that the Indian government has already initiated work in its attempt to introduce 5G technology in the country. The telecom department has issued a request to the telecom regulator to suggest the starting price for 5G airwaves in the 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz bands, which may well debut in the next spectrum auction. He also reiterated the need for India to accelerate its efforts in preparation for the ‘digital era’.

Sinha also stated that new policies in telecommunications had to be ‘futuristic’ and said that standards established in areas such as cybersecurity, internet adoption, data protection and broadband spectrum that was applicable five years ago, is no longer relevant.

Broadband remains of critical importance to India in order to ensure ‘digital connectivity’ which will lead to higher productivity as has been proven in many a developed country. Sinha added: “It enhances commerce, improves banking facilities, improves administrative facilities and empowers the public as a whole. Broadband development is the cornerstone of Digital India and every Indian and remotest location will be empowered through the Digital India initiative.”

A study conducted by ICRIER and Broadband India Forum showed that there has been an increase of 17% in internet traffic in the country which has contributed to an increase of 5.6% in India’s GDP, by 2020 analysts have predicted that it will grow to 16%.