BSNL bets big on 5G technology, signs with Ericsson

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Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson has signed a memorandum of understanding () with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to work on developing 5G use cases in India. The partnership will leverage company’s 5G Center of Excellence established earlier this year at IIT Delhi to work on evaluating benefits of 5G technology in areas like rural connectivity, connected healthcare, industrial automation, public safety, video surveillance, energy and agriculture amongst others.

“5G is now open for business in India. There is a tremendous response from stakeholders to use this technology for innovation. As many as 75% of companies are looking to use 5G. We expect that by 2026, about $13 billion value of new revenue will be added to telecom operators from 5G,” said to TechObserver.in, adding that his company is investing to bring the latest technology to India and develop the 5G ecosystem to support a government’s digital India programme.

Ericsson said it believes in India’s digital story and asserted that it was the first company to bring a live demonstration of 5G technology to India showcasing speeds of 5.7 GBPS and ultra-low latency of less than 3 milliseconds. Earlier this year, it had set up a Center of Excellence and Innovation Lab for 5G at the IIT Delhi. The centre it said has been established to fast-track 5G deployments by bringing together telecom ecosystems, academia, industry and startups.

In a recently released report, the company has argued that 5G lead digitization revenue potential in India may touch $27.3 billion by 2026 and operators can generate additional revenue of $13 billion or half of the stated potential if they take up roles beyond being connectivity and infrastructure providers.

“The largest opportunity will be seen in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors. Some of the 5G use cases that could be implemented using the features of 5G technology include industrial control and automation, autonomous driving, safety and traffic efficiency services, hospital applications and medical data management amongst others, said Bansal.

Agreeing with the views of Bansal, said that 5G and IoT would absolutely create new opportunities and it was right time for companies to invest in India because the country was passing through a phase of disruption lead by Reliance Jio that has increased the data consumption like never before.

“With our partnership with companies like Ericsson, we intend to take the lead in the development of these new technologies. We will test, learn and develop use cases that will help us meet the diverse needs of our customers in the future,” said Shrivastava, adding that “5G will also help create the backbone on which Digital India initiatives will be delivered.”

With 5G technology dominating the public discourse, the public sector telecom operator has amplified its effort to work on new generation of telecom technology. On Wednesday, it signed a similar agreement with Telecom equipment maker Nokia in which the latter becomes its Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) technology partner for public safety projects. The partnership is likely to help BSNL in advancing its services in the areas of public safety and smart city.

On the same line, earlier, BSNL had signed a MoU with American networking technology giant Cisco to work on 5G technology to create use cases in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, education, drone, and .

“Our partnership with BSNL is aimed at making network smart so that a lot of data could be processed at the edge level, leading to better processing and visualization. This can create an amazing and completely new way of doing things in the field of agriculture, healthcare, and education,” said Sanjay Kaul, Managing Director, Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC.

“Even if we are able to create an autonomous tractor, that will improve the efficiency and ease the burden on a farmer like never before, leading to better yield. This can simply add up substantial value to our GDP,” he added.

Shrivastava agreed with the assessment on the potential of 5G technology but he urged the multi-national companies like Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco to also focus on creating human resources with 5G skillsets.

“We are absolutely bullish about 5G but there is an acute shortage of people with 5G skillsets who can work in the areas of drone, smart city and high level of automation. We need to address this challenge while creating the 5G use cases in the country,” said Shrivastava.

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