What are the 5G use cases being developed in India?
The showstoppers at the recently concluded India Mobile Congress (IMC) in New Delhi included 5G-connected ambulances, a cattle tracker, smart office solutions and cloud gaming. The idea behind a 5G-connected ambulance was to deliver critical/initial care to patients during the ‘golden hour’, or the first 60 minutes before a trauma or injury when prompt medical attention can often save lives. The ambulance will allow real-time transmission of a patient’s vitals and other health data from the vehicle directly to the hospital, from where doctors can instruct paramedical staff. For mobile users, enhanced mobile broadband and cloud gaming could be initial use cases. Cloud gaming will attract gaming enthusiasts as it will do away with the need for a gaming console as games could be played on a 5G-enabled smartphone.
What are Indian telcos doing?
Reliance Jio Infocomm has launched a 5G-connected ambulance with Medulance, an emergency medical response service provider. Bharti Airtel has demonstrated a 5G-connected ambulance use case in partnership with Apollo Hospitals and US-based networking gear maker Cisco. The ambulance is equipped with cameras and smart devices that allow real-time, two-way audio and video communication, high-definition footage transmission, location tracking, and real-time streaming of patient health data to a doctor over a high-speed 5G network.
When will 5G services begin?
During the launch of 5G services on October 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi experienced several 5G use cases first-hand. He could drive a car remotely and witness augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) through wearable devices. Airtel became the first telecom player to launch 5G services in eight cities, while Reliance Jio has also announced a beta launch of 5G in four cities. Both telcos will gradually expand their 5G network coverage across India level by the end of 2023. Vodafone Idea has not yet announced the date of its 5G launch.
What are the challenges?
The ecosystem around 5G mobile handsets, enterprise use cases and devices has yet to fully develop in India. “The initial phase will be a lot more on enhanced mobile broadband. Most of the operators will launch a fixed wireless access device. This will be the most popular thing in the short run,” said Peeyush Vaish, partner and telecom sector leader, Deloitte India. “There’s going to be a very, very big uptake from a B2B perspective on 5G but that is far away,” Vaish added. The 5G network’s ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability will enable consumers to enjoy enhanced 4K video, cloud gaming, XR applications and live sports. The adoption of 5G, however, hinges on a developed and affordable ecosystem. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are another area of concern. India has a good and affordable smart-watch ecosystem which is likely to benefit from 5G services, but advanced IoT use cases such as smart cars at affordable prices are still in the future, said Aniket Dani, director, Crisil Research.
What are the global use cases for 5G?
According to telecom network gear maker Ericsson, the following are a few global implementations in the enterprise segment. Telefónica, Ericsson and Mercedes-Benz are building the world’s first 5G mobile network for automobile production at its “Factory 56” in Sindelfingen, Germany, which will be the blueprint for all future vehicle assembly facilities worldwide.
Ericsson and Volvo Cars have carried out a successful test handover of connected cars between two mobile 5G networks in different countries at the AstaZero test track in Sweden. Telia in Sweden will build and manage a dedicated 5G-ready mobile network for mining company Boliden at Aitik, the world’s most efficient open-pit copper mine in the north of Sweden. Ericsson and Ooredoo showcased an immersive sports demo that was broadcast live to a virtual stadium at Mall of Qatar where consumers experienced the VR and immersive experience of the match remotely.