In a bid to stimulate the 5G ecosystem in India, Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson on Tuesday formally launched the country's first "Centre of Excellence (CoE) and Innovation Lab" for 5G at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
"India cannot afford to miss the 5G bus. It is of strategic importance to us," Communications Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters after inaugurating the centre in New Delhi.
"We need the entire ecosystem to work together to make 5G a reality in India over the next 2-3 years," the minister added.
The 5G innovation lab is an open platform and aims to help the industry and the academia to leverage the 5G technology to develop new 5G-based apps and business models.
"The 5G 'Centre of Excellence' supports the government's plans to foster a robust and vibrant 5G ecosystem in the country. We want India to be an active participant in the design, development and manufacturing of 5G-based technologies, products and apps," Sinha noted.
The Minister said that the government is in the process of identifying potential use cases for 5G and sectors like health, education and disaster management, among others, have emerged as frontrunners for 5G adoption.
"I would like to urge the industry, academia, students and start-ups to leverage the Ericsson Innovation Lab to develop new 5G-based apps and business models that could potentially lead to better agricultural yields, better healthcare, smarter cities, more efficient manufacturing and enhanced lifestyles," Sinha emphasised.
Addressing the gathering, Borje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, said that the company is leading 5G standardisation globally.
'We would like to unleash the creativity and innovation of the Indian industry, academia and entrepreneurs to fully leverage and make 5G a reality in India," he stressed.
Also present on the occasion were R.S. Sharma, Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi.
"India is a big player in data consumption. It consumes more data than any country in the world," Sharma said.
As per an Ericsson report, 5G-enabled digitisation revenue potential in India will hit $27.3 billion (roughly Rs. 1.87 lakh crores) by 2026.
The Indian operators can generate additional revenue of $13 billion (roughly Rs. 89,000 crores) if they take up roles beyond being connectivity and infrastructure providers to become service enablers and service creators, the company said.
The largest opportunity will be seen, according to Ericsson, in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors.
Some of the 5G use cases that could be implemented using the unique features of 5G technology include industrial control and automation, autonomous driving, safety and traffic efficiency services, hospital applications and medical data management, among others.