“…both ecosystems in China and South Korea are developed as they are heavily invested in research and development of networks, terminals, platforms, and even including application development. As a country, there are a lot of things to learn…R&D focus would be the key to make this technology accessible to every single person across the world. That’s what we intend to do even in the Indian market,” Madhav Sheth, Realme India CEO said at ETTelecom’s 5G Congress virtual event 2021.
During the panel discussion on the 5G smartphone ecosystem, Sunil Raina, president at Lava International said that 5G devices are coming into the Indian market much faster despite the network unavailability due to the fast ecosystem shift in the Chinese market. “…therefore, there’s a pressure on the ecosystem to really shift to 5G faster in terms of the device adoption, so that’s gonna be one key factor that will happen internally.”
Home-bred Lava’s executive said that initial 5G adoption will be driven by consumers who want future-ready phones. “India is going to be one of those unique countries where there’ll be three worlds coexisting of 2G, 4G and 5G at the same time. The real action will start from 2022,” he added.
Navkendar Singh, Research Director- India & South Asia, IDC said that till now China has led the 5G device adoption globally. In 2020 round 250 million or 20% of the overall smartphone shipped were 5G, and 2/3rd of these were in China. India is very small with 3 million 5G smartphone shipments in 2020. “While markets like China, Korea and some western markets will no doubt see this adoption trend in 2021 as well, India is also expected to see an uptick of 5G shipments in 2021, reaching around 30 million in 2021.”
Navnit Nakra, Chief Strategy Officer at OnePlus India said that gaming, AR/VR and entertainment will drive adoption of 5G among consumers in India.
“…entertainment and gaming, whether it’s at home, or whether it’s you know, in a collaborative network, the 5HG experience will take this entertainment to the next level. The big change will be in the super low latency leading to gaming,” Nakra said.
Nakra said that OnePlus is seeing positive sentiment in the market towards the 5G technology. “…the consumers are gravitating towards better technology…there is a much higher demand towards getting the latest equipment in your hand.”
Tasleem Arif, VP & Head R&D at Oppo India said that handset vendors are working as enablers for Indian telecom operators to ensure that they are able to launch 5G at lowest cost possible.
Arif added that the local research and development (R&D) ecosystem is helping create efficient 5G devices and applications besides allowing telecom operators to test their network and different architectures.
“…we believe that once we establish these services around that 5G technology, then only the transition of 4G to 5G will be faster because operators will have to invest a lot of money and they need to build the use cases so that they can also get the revenue on investment. So, we are investing more on creating the platform and building on not only from the device side, but also from the platform service side,” Arif further added.
Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President – India & MENA at HMD Global said that affordable 5G data plans will ensure that there is quick adoption of the high-speed service in India. “…there are different players in the ecosystem, and each player needs to see how they can leverage opportunities and overcome the challenges. We want to democratise 5G handsets and bring them to India. and India is a priority market.”
Lava’s Raina said that the production-linked incentive scheme will not just encourage manufacturing in India but will lead to a supply chain shift into India resulting in an ecosystem development, especially for R&D. “…setting up R&D centers in India, incentivizing them, will be a very important step in the direction of really making it affordable for India. this should be the next logical step in really creating the right ecosystem in India.”