India’s telecom department believes the upcoming 6G technology will bring terrestrial and satellite communication networks together, resulting in nationwide mobile and broadband connectivity. The convergence will also help in bridging the digital divide in the country.
The convergence will also unlock a slew of digital services and enable reach across the country’s remote locations, K. Rajaraman, secretary Department of Telecommunications (DoT), said at an industry event.
Rajaraman said the convergence of terrestrial and Satcom networks with the help of the 5G technology, along with a “paradigm shift in machine-human interactions, will break greater opportunities and offer more options.”
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recently formed a 6G technology innovation group to create a roadmap for research and development (R&D) and an action plan for the technology.
Through its innovation group, the department is now inviting various stakeholders and partners to help find technologies under development in India and can form a part of 6G so it can be pushed for R&D grants. “We have to work with stakeholders in a collaborative manner to reap the benefit of technology for the development of the start-up ecosystem,” Rajarama said.
Rajarama said that the focus is also on preparing India’s own manufacturing and services ecosystem to capitalise on the 6G opportunity.
“India has a lot of learnings from the impending rollout of 5G. We have already started 5G technology trials and the development of products has also started. We have submitted IPs in 5G technology and the formation of 6G TIG will provide a platform for us to prepare and contribute to the development of technology from the very beginning,” he added.
He also emphasised undertaking various activities to develop technology like developing the 6G equipment ecosystem, the importance of participation in standards development, and influencing the activities at international standard-setting bodies.
The telecom secretary urged policymakers, regulators and industry stakeholders to exercise great care in ensuring that deployment of 6G does not leave the country’s “digitally-excluded citizens” behind. “New technologies can tilt the scales in favour of those with computing and financial power, which is both a challenge and an opportunity,” he added.
Indian Minister for Communication Ashwini Vaishnaw said last week that the country expects to launch by 2023-end or early 2024, having already developed indigenous 5G technology, 5Gi.
On 5G, the DoT secretary said that the high-speed internet technology would enable new use cases that could lead to the proliferation of fintech solutions.
The DoT expects commercial 5G rollouts with locally manufactured equipment in 2022, post-auctions around April-May next year. The secretary said that 5G and open technologies would drive local manufacturing of 5G equipment.
The DoT recently referred to the telecom regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, for 5G spectrum auctions.