5G subscriptions in India are expected to reach 130 million in 2023, and are estimated to grow to 860 million by 2029, a new report showed on Thursday.
Declaring that ”this decade is India’s techade”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the country was moving towards becoming the biggest exporter of telecom technology in the world because of its capabilities, innovative manpower and a favourable policy environment.
Noting that successfully developed telecom technology in India was attracting the attention of the globe, he said India was working with many countries to change the work culture of the whole world with the power of 5G.
The prime minister was inaugurating the new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Area office & Innovation Centre at the Vigyan Bhawan. He also unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document and launched the 6G R&D Test Bed and launched the ‘Call before u Dig’ App.
The ITU is the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). India signed a Host Country Agreement in March 2022 with ITU for the establishment of an area office that will serve India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Iran, enhancing coordination among nations and fostering mutually beneficial economic cooperation in the region.
“Telecom technology for India is not a mode of power, but a mission to empower,” the PM remarked as he noted that digital technology was universal in India and accessible to everyone.
Underlining that digital inclusion has happened on a large scale in India in the last few years, he mentioned that broadband connectivity had 60 million users in India before 2014 but the number has gone up to more than 800 million today. He further added that the number of internet connections in India was more than 85 crores compared to 25 crores before 2014.
Referring to the rural upsurge of internet use in India, the PM informed that the number of internet users in the villages has surpassed the urban areas indicating that digital power has reached every nook and corner of the country. He informed that 25 lakh km of optical fiber has been laid in India by the government and private sector in the last 9 years.
He said Digital India was supporting non-digital sectors and gave the example of the PM Gatishakti Masterplan in this regard. He said the ‘Call Before You Dig’ app reflected the same thinking. This would reduce the instances of unnecessary digging and damage.
“Today’s India is rapidly moving towards the next step of the digital revolution,” he remarked as he underlined that India was the country with the fastest 5G rollout in the world as 5G services have been rolled out in more than 125 cities in just 120 days and 5G services have reached approximately 350 districts in the country.
Throwing light the country’s increasing confidence in the digital field, the PM said that India was discussing 6G just after 6 months after the 5G rollout. “The vision document presented today will become a major basis for the 6G rollout in the next few years”, he added.
The PM said it was natural to have expectations from India in the context of bridging the global divide. India’s capabilities, innovation culture, infrastructure, skilled and innovative manpower and favourable policy environment were the basis of these expectations. “India has two key strengths – trust and scale. We cannot take technology to all corners without trust and scale. The entire world is talking about India’s efforts in this direction,” he added.
The PM remarked that India’s efforts in this direction have become a matter of discussion all around the world. Highlighting the achievements, he informed that India was now the most connected democracy in the world with more than a hundred crore mobile connections and credited this transformation to the availability of cheap smartphones and data. “More than 800 crore digital payments are made every month in India through UPI,” he said.