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India to be Included with $5 Billion 5G Project

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India’s 5G looks to be getting a boost soon with the announcement that the country will be included with a $5 billion investment plan from Cisco Systems Inc. Based out of the US, the investment is aiming to aid in the construction of crucial 5G infrastructure. With projects including fibre rollout, transport, and security for the new systems, this move from Cisco Systems Inc. is the latest in the long line of developments to bring 5G to the masses.

Not the only name in the game, India’s government has put considerable effort into the 5G rollout, though nationwide coverage is some time away. According to industry spectators like Reliance Industries’ Chairman Mukesh Ambani, the “5G revolution” is set to start somewhere in the second half of 2021. While already existing in limited quantities, the size and geography of India present some major challenges to complete rollout. This has resulted in a forecast from GSMA intelligence painting a 90% 5G rollout rate as late as 2040.

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Further complicating the matter is a push from certain providers to offer a 5Gi standard. While ostensibly compatible with regular 5G, experts have raised concerns that 5Gi could generate interoperability concerns, further delaying the rollout of more compatible and robust regular 5G systems.


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No Cause for Concern

Though these challenges make it likely that Indian users in many areas won’t have access to 5G for some time, this shouldn’t prove an issue in most cases. As it exists, 5G is very much a forward-thinking technology, one which lacks necessity for most modern uses. Though the application 5G can be complicated, by looking at use-cases it can be possible to easily examine whether it will be a worthwhile change for you. Note that simultaneous connections are a major concern here, which could lower 4G performance considerably in areas of high population density.

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For reference, the following chart displays the key differences between 4G and 5G systems.



Average Speed

25 Mbps

300 Mbps


100-500 milliseconds

20-30 milliseconds


10 miles

1,000 feet

Maximum Simultaneous Connections

4,000 per square kilometre (increases with overlapping towers)

1,000,000 per square kilometre

The most common use for mobile data systems in India mirror that of the rest of the world, in that they centre on social media and video streaming systems. Social media, by virtue of relying primarily on images, doesn’t require much bandwidth, and thus operates just fine on existing 4G solutions. Much heavier on the bandwidth toll are HD video streams from systems like YouTube and Amazon TV. In these instances, 1080p video can use up to 15 Mbps, meaning 4G will usually keep up. Ultra-HD, which can use 25-50 Mbps, will not play well on these systems, but given few users will stream Ultra-HD to a small phone screen, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Similar concepts apply to interactive entertainment experiences, such as online casino gaming. Here, even the most demanding uses like live game streaming will typically operate at well under 10 Mbps. This means that even if a mobile hotspot was being used and shared between multiple users, players could engage in games like live baccarat, craps, and poker simultaneously without any risk of performance degradation. In the instance where users played even less demanding non-live games, even 3G connections could be used with only a minor slowdown. For static content, like with written reviews and other items, high-speed content isn’t necessary. Naturally, this changes as soon as you introduce videos or interactive implements.

Realistically, there are only two significant use-cases that could take full advantage of 5G speed, video game streaming and business data backups. In terms of video game streaming, this rule applies to modern services like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud. Both of these have enormous bandwidth concerns of at least 25 Mbps and require low latency to be tolerable. Though they’re not yet popular enough to be considered a mainstream use, the concern still applies.

For business use, emergency data backups can be problematic with the mere 25Mbps upload speed of 4G. A ten-gigabyte database could take over an hour on 4G, whereas a 5G connection could manage that same task in less than five minutes. For an earthquake, fire, or unexpected power loss, this speed could prove extremely useful.

A Purposeful Rollout

While the rollout of 5G continues in India, don’t expect integration to be spread evenly. Rather, it’s likely 5G will first target high-density areas, and then slowly spread out to less demanding locations. With such limited range, it’s also not likely to ever come to rural areas, as the cost of implementing the number of towers required would be prohibitive. Ultimately, the best way to think of 5G is as a companion to 4G, better suited to the busiest places within cities such as the CBD. With that in mind, most users won’t need to rush out and upgrade their mobile, at least not yet.

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