Thursday, February 29, 2024

India an extraordinary innovator, can lead world in 5G technology: Verizon’s Robert Le Busque – ET Telecom

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NEW DELHI: India is a great technology innovator, and has a potential to lead Asia and the world in fifth generation or 5G technology, following the region’s changing risk profile, a top executive of the US-based Verizon said.

“When it comes to 5G technology and infrastructure, India has an incredible opportunity ahead of them to leapfrog in terms of growth and sophistication, and lead the (Asia) region and the world,” Robert Le Busque, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific at Verizon Business Group told ETTelecom.

The New York City-based Verizon Communications Inc., is a US multinational telecommunications conglomerate, and is a corporate component of the Dow Jones stock market index.

“Between now (2023) and 2030, the big trend will be investment in innovation, technology, and infrastructure development in the Asia Pacific region, including India which is a great innovator,” the executive said, adding that some cutting-edge technology is being developed in India.

Le Busque said that there is a huge opportunity in India, given the production base, with the significant volume of ongoing investment into smart manufacturing, and as a part of it, the risk profile of the Asia Pacific region is changing.

There is an apparent race in the region to develop the technology, commercialise it, and then bring it to the global market as quickly as possible, according to the executive.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led country is banking on indigenously-developed fourth generation (4G) technology which, according to officials, could be upgraded to next generation (5G). India is in discussions with as many as 10 countries to export homegrown technology.

Indian Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw earlier said that the South Asian nation has joined an elite club of countries who offer telecom equipment worldwide, and has already developed an end-to-end 4G-5G technology stack.

Recently, designed and made in India eNodeB (Evolved NodeB), a base station equipment that handles the radio interface with smartphones, has been deployed in the proof-of-concept (PoC) network for state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

The executive added that there has been a significant amount of investment going into research and development (R&D) activities in the country.

Last year, the Centre approved a Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF), a scheme that allows monetary support to homegrown companies in their R&D initiatives.

Verizon, once an industry leader in postpaid customers, lost subscribers last year to its fast-growing rivals AT&T Inc and T-Mobile that offered more affordable plans or had better 5G networks.

“We are actively working with our customers and partners in India on a continuous basis, talking to them about the value that technology can bring,” Le Busque said.

Last week, India bagged a coveted Government Leadership Award among five countries shortlisted worldwide for their industry-friendly policies from the London-based GSM Association (GSMA).

The Verizon executive said that there has been an increasing investment in digital transformation and infrastructure across major markets in the Asia Pacific region.

The US-based telecom carrier, and a key 5G private network player worldwide, maintains multiple offices in India for backend operations including customer support, and does not offer telecom services in India.

Currently, Jio and Airtel are rolling out their 5G standalone (SA) and 5G non-standalone (NSA) networks, respectively. Vodafone Idea is however yet to launch its 5G services. Meanwhile the Indian government expects state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to join the league of big telecom operators by launching its 4G services this year, and 5G services in 2024.

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