India is a big nation. In terms of population, we are not far from overtaking China and becoming the country with the largest number of people in the globe. This means more and more people would need telecom services to stay connected to the internet and the outside world. 5G is the latest generation of wireless network technology. When it comes to 5G, things will change forever. Things like cloud gaming, network slicing, AR/VR experiences, and more would become common. But it would take many years for you to experience 5G the way you do 4G right now.
But why? Why should it take years for something like this to happen? Well, first of all, while you think 4G came fast to you, you are pretty wrong. It took years for the telcos to build a widespread 4G network. Things got a push because Jio left the competitors no other option. Telcos are still working on expanding 4G, and we are on the verge of entering 2023.
It takes time for the telcos to build networks because it is not a black-and-white activity. The process involves a lot of permissions, setting up infrastructure, financing activities, and more. 5G is going to need a lot more capex, more debt on the industry and deliver slow returns initially. Thus, telcos can't go all in on 5G even if they wish to.
Then there are other reasons why telcos wouldn't want to spend more than necessary money on 5G. The device ecosystem is yet to fully mature in India. The 5G smartphone availability and options are rising in India, but they are not yet at the place where 4G devices are in currently. Multiple studies suggest that 4G is going to be a major part of India till 2027 at least. Only after 2027 will we see 4G slowly phasing out.
At present, there aren't even as many consumer applications of 5G to push the users into really wanting 5G to be a part of their daily life. 4G is enough for a majority of consumers in the country. In fact, it is worth noting that many consumers are still on 2G devices and 2G networks. Thus, it is going to be a challenge for the telcos to get everyone to upgrade to 5G right away.
Even the telcos aren't counting on this to happen. An industry executive said that moving fast with 5G presents no significant opportunity. Vodafone Idea isn't even worried about delays in launching 5G. All of this goes to show that while 5G has arrived, it will be limited to certain areas in every part of the cities, wherever it launches. By 2024 or 2025 only, we will start to see a major push around 5G happening.