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Will the 5G Journey be a Game Changer for India Inc.?

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Harnath Babu, CIO & Partner, KPMG in India

Digital transformation is bringing about a profound revolution – reshaping and revamping human lives. The convergence of technology and telecom is altering how we live and work, and this change will continue rapidly going forward. We live in a digital-first era with connections, networks of information replacing traditional business models, and the consumer is truly king. Automation, artificial intelligence, and the colonization of Mars seem imminent. Accelerated progression of digital transformation in India is highly attributable to the mobile data revolution. In just two years, the Indian telecom industry witnessed unprecedented expansion and leapfrogged from 155th in mobile internet penetration to being the world’s second-largest data-consuming nation with 1.16 billion users. (According to TRAI, telecommunications Industry Report, July 2022).

Driven by technology, data, and connectivity, the fourth industrial revolution has picked up pace. But we are just at the cusp of this uprising. 5G will fuel this revolution like never before.

5G at the Helm of Transformation
The launch of 5G by the Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, was monumental for the Digital India mission. 1.3 billion Indians have been ushered into the era of ultra-high-speed internet and limitless possibilities with the introduction of 5G services. 5G has provided the expressway needed to unlock the true potential of digital India. With its 20 gigabytes per second speed and reduced latency of less than five millisecond as compared to the 60 to 98 milliseconds of 4G, (According to Press Release of 5G Launch on October 1, 2020) the 5G network has the potential to transport sophisticated technology across the length and breadth of India. Virtual classrooms, robotic surgeries, metaverse, and high-end encrypted digital payments, which were earlier restricted to metro hubs, can now open the doors of unfathomable change in remote corners as well.

Massive 4G adoption and the exponential rise in data demand, combined with favorable demographics, hold great potential for the telecom industry's rapid expansion, especially as India approaches the $ 2,000 per capita mark.

According to TRAI, India had 834.28 million internet subscribers as of January 2022. But forecasters suggest that number will reach by one billion in 2025 with the advent of 5G. Along with super-fast speed, 5G data packs' affordability will also be a catalyst for driving massive data consumption.

India’s Path to Digital Excellence
5G has the potential to change the socioeconomic fabric in India and transform society at large. It can help spur innovation, create new opportunities for the youth and help entrepreneurs to expand their businesses. With over a billion consumers and a global network of business providers, 5G will provide the infrastructure needed to support advances in data-hungry technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, ed-tech, and remote healthcare.

One can’t dispute that Industry 4.0 is dependent on the surge of network. Previously, India Inc. was frequently unable to realize its full potential due to limited network bandwidth, which acted as a roadblock in its digital transformation journey. However, with the advent of 5G, we are confident that we will be able to remove these obstacles, ensuring automated, more efficient, and consumer-centric operations. We are now in the era of ingenious technology with advanced algorithms, IoT devices, embedded machines, and an AI universe, which demands real-time data processing and transmission, advanced R&D, and of course high-speed connectivity. With its ultra-high bandwidth, speed, and low latency, 5G will effortlessly complement these requirements.

From immersive extended reality experiences to high-precision location, presence, and timing technologies, 5G is going to broaden our horizons, break down boundaries, and expand our connectivity far more than it is now

From helping manufacturing companies analyze and predict machine breakdowns or autonomously schedule service; to enabling intelligent and effective supply chain processes for logistics firms; revolutionizing remote healthcare, and education; digitizing value chains; and providing consumers and merchants a confident e-commerce and digital payments framework, 5G will support life-changing advancements and innovation that can dramatically enhance day-to-day lives and business efficiencies across industries.

The Future is Here
The impact of 5G on digital transformation is going to be pivotal for our country—not only for telecom but for other sectors as well. It will bring a rapid revolution, from pilot runs to large-scale implementation, transforming both the public and private sectors. With its efficient performance and scale, 5G will pave the way to enable a new wave of digital innovation and provide the foundation for intelligent and unique mobile experiences. From immersive extended reality experiences to high-precision location, presence, and timing technologies, 5G is going to broaden our horizons, break down boundaries, and expand our connectivity far more than it is now. Applications like autonomous vehicles, smart manufacturing, immersive retail, safer transportation, precision agriculture, and remote healthcare are now possible thanks to this new generation of cellular broadband. Though India still has a long way to go, its growth velocity and digital horsepower have enough metal to not only navigate challenges, but also remain resilient and self-reliant to enter the golden age.

It is now the time to get ahead with 5G!

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