5G towers up in 387 districts, nationwide by Dec 2024: Telecom Minister

18 countries are also keen on implementing India's indigenously developed 4G and 5G stacks, Ashwani Vaishnaw says

Subhayan Chakraborty New Delhi
Both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel (which has tied up with the Tatas) have announced that they are developing a 5G stack, and want to sell it to the world

India has won the Government Leadership Award 2023 for implementing best practices in telecom policy and regulation at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Five months after being launched, 5G infrastructure has been deployed in 387 districts in the first phase and will cover the entire country by December, 2024, Telecom Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw has said.
The Minister said on Tuesday that 100,000 base transceiver centres (BTS) are now active in these districts, which is better than the government's target of covering 200 districts.

A BTS is a fixed radio transceiver in any mobile network, most often installed on mobile towers. The government had earlier asked the telcos to set up at least 10,000 BTS every week.
Global interest

As many as 18 countries are also interested in implementing India's indigenously developed 4G and 5G stack, Vaishnaw stressed. As many as 13 foreign telcos are also interested in the Indian stack.
The government is keen on offering the entire range of sophisticated Made-in-India 4G and 5G equipment and associated technologies to other nations and showcasing the plan as part of its G20 discussions on the digital economy.

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New Delhi also wants to capitalise on the stacks to firmly place India on the global telecom map and attract higher investment as value chains move to the country. The stacks have been successfully tested to handle 10 million simultaneous calls.
Only five other countries--the US, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, and China--have similar end-to-end 4G and 5G stacks

Companies in these countries also dictate the standards and prices of 4G and 5G equipment, and the market conditions.
Mobile exports, BSNL 4G

The Minister said mobile exports from India are likely to exceed $10 billion this year. He said the electronics and telecom manufacturing sector is expected to see exponential growth in the year ahead.
Vaishnaw added that there is no delay in setting up Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s (BSNL) indigenous 4G-5G network, asserting that it is a complicated procedure.

BSNL's mega plans to launch 4G services come years after the three private telecom service providers — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — rolled it out. According to multiple statements made by Department of Telecommunication officials and the Department itself, the last deadline was early 2023.
But the plans were repeatedly delayed, after which DoT pulled up BSNL. The latest deadlines are August 2023 for rolling out 4G services and end-2023 for 5G, sources said.

Vaishnaw also announced the installation of the first made and designed-in-India eNodeB in Chandigarh, asserting that it is a significant milestone for the Make-in-India mission.
India wins at mobile congress

India has won the Government Leadership Award 2023 for implementing best practices in telecom policy and regulation at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
GSMA, which represents more than 750 mobile operators and 400 companies in the telecom ecosystem, recognises one country every year.

Ease of doing business practices clinched the award for India. Right of way permissions, which used to take more than 230 days, now get approval within eight days, the government said. More than 85 per cent mobile tower clearances are now instantaneous.

First Published: Feb 28 2023 | 4:00 PM IST

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