There are about 12,000 distinct smartphone models available in India today but just about 50 high-end smartphones will hit the markets next year that will be 5G capable. The entire industry is gearing up to develop the 5G ecosystem in the country however the availability and affordability of 5G devices does not find too much mention.

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The core beneficiaries of 5G will be enterprises which will dramatically change how telecom operators in India and rest of the Asia Pacific and Japan region earn their revenue in the next five years.

“In the 5G era, telcos will earn 70 per cent of their net revenue from enterprises. Right now, only 30 per cent of their revenue comes from enterprises, while the rest comes from consumers”.This is a huge shift. For example, if you go to a factory and make it smart, you can significantly reduce their operating cost and telecom operators can then claim a share of the credit for reducing the cost of operation and earn some revenue in return.

Cisco will be able to help telcos monetise their services as the company manages almost 70 per cent of internal network of most enterprises. “5G+C=M. This means 5G plus Cisco equals monetisation. This is because Cisco brings in technology, it brings in the the know how of enterprises and enterprises are already our customers,” he said, adding that 5G will dramatically change the e-commerce sector, financial services, logistics and some manufacturing segments in the country.

There is a good chance that 5G will transform the agriculture sector in India. For example, 5G may enable driverless tractors. The major impediment to driverless cars has been the lack of proper infrastructure. But with driverless tractors, you do not need proper lanes as chances of accidents in fields will be less. For a robust 5G ecosystem in the country, a strong partnership among major stakeholders is a must.

To bring 5G faster to the country, the government will have to make it viable for telecom operators to offer its services. It will have to reduce the prices of spectrum, increase fiberisation. Telcos will have to embrace transformation of their IP network and their data centre network. The spectrum auction will be done within the current financial year and he also assured the industry that the government is bringing some reforms in spectrum pricing as well.

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