Airtel CEO Says 5G Adoption at Scale Needs More Devices, Use Cases: Report

5G subscriptions in India are expected to surpass the total 4G subscriptions by 2028. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility report, India would see 4G subscriptions peaking in 2024. After that, they will start declining.

Highlights

  • Bharti Airtel's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gopal Vittal, believes that 5G's adoption at scale requires more devices and more use cases.
  • He has referred to 5G as a supercomputer connected to the cloud many times now.
  • As per Vittal, 5G has seen some adoption from enterprises such as Apollo for colonoscopy and a customer for identifying defective parts on a real-time basis in the assembly line, but it hasn't been done at a scale.

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Bharti Airtel's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gopal Vittal, believes that 5G's adoption at scale requires more devices and more use cases. He has referred to 5G as a supercomputer connected to the cloud many times now. As per Vittal, 5G has seen some adoption from enterprises such as Apollo for colonoscopy and a customer for identifying defective parts on a real-time basis in the assembly line, but it hasn't been done at a scale. This is because of the lack of relevant use cases and a lack of 5G devices in the market.




In an interview, Vittal told ET that the challenge remains in the availability of more 5G devices and more applications of the technology. 4G's growth also depended a lot on the availability of low-cost 4G phones. Currently, there aren't many super affordable 5G devices in the market. While that should change in the future, until that happens, 5G's adoption would remain limited.

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5G subscriptions in India are expected to surpass the total 4G subscriptions by 2028. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility report, India would see 4G subscriptions peaking in 2024. After that, they will start declining. The growth of 5G in the enterprise market would depend on the marketing of the telcos, while in the consumer segment, it would depend a lot on the availability of low-cost devices and relevant use cases.

Currently, 5G is only good for high-speed downloading. Since it is available at no additional cost to the 4G customers of Jio and Airtel, people are consuming it. But once the telcos start charging for it, if there aren't many relevant use cases, people won't be excited to pay for it. Airtel has already reached more than 500 cities with its 5G and is deploying it at a rapid pace in new cities and towns in India.

Reported By

Tanuja is a passionate technology and telecom buff who has been following the telecom industry for several years now.

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