Investment in 4G is happening because consumers really want it. So, if telecom companies want to survive they need to put 4G on the table. However, to make 5G happen you need to look probably one step ahead and start thinking about how to make money out of 5G. Telecom operators in India must think about monetization of 5G before taking steps to introduce the latest technology to the country considering that their enormous investments in 4G technology have yet to harvest returns, Aircel’s chief marketing officer Anupam Vasudev said. Players will be slightly more cautious about putting in the money in 5G technology, given the fact that they just burnt a lot of cash in 4G, he said. Vasudev said that 5G technology would require massive investments, which is why Telco’s would need to prepare a roadmap that would include finding out some initial use cases. Telco’s and gear vendors in the country are currently working on 5G use cases in healthcare, agriculture, automotive and education verticals.
The Aircel executive said that 4G is currently required for survival in the market, which is seeing intense competition following the entry of Reliance Jio Info COMM with ground-breaking tariffs. “I don’t think anybody who wants to stay in the game will say, ‘OK, I don’t want to do 4G.’ They have no other option,” he said. Vasudev, however, said that India needs 5G because the set-up required for it will benefit the whole ecosystem in the industry.
Operators including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Jio have already started taking steps to bring 5G to the country. While Airtel has already arranged pre-5G technology. Airtel and BSNL have formed groupings with telecom equipment vendors such as Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE to test the new 5G technology and explore use cases around that.