New Delhi: The standards for the rollout of 5G network in the country are likely to be ready by 2018, an official said on Friday.

"India is getting future ready and has started serious work on identifying and formalising the standards for the rollout of 5G. The standards are likely to be ready by 2018," said D.P. De, Senior Deputy Director General of Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), at the 5G India 2017 Conference here.

"5G will be an overarching umbrella of networks rather than a replacement technology and will usher in significant economic, political and environmental benefits," observed Adrian Scrase, Chief Technical Officer, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and Head of 3GPP MCC (Mobile Competence Core).

According to industry representatives and sectoral experts, the key drivers for 5G rollout and adoption will be a massively anticipated increase in data consumption, fast increasing digitalised life and services, growth of smart cities and the need to have an all encompassing network architecture which can utilise all available spectrum band rather than replace the existing networks, said an official statement.

"Connected devices, digitised lifestyle where almost every aspect of human life will be consumed digitally calls for a new paradigm shift in telecommunication eco-system," said Shyam P. Mardikar, Chief Technical Officer (Mobile Networks), Bharti Airtel.

"We have moved from the voice phase to video consumption and the next phase will be virtuality which will demand humongous data availability and networks have to evolve to keep pace. This will be a real challenge."

Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said: "Consumers side demand, resource deployment and commercial viability will be the main drivers for the operators for 5G rollout."

"It may be easy to rollout 5G in a country like Japan or South Korea, but India is a fundamentally different market with diverse needs. There would be huge financial and structural challenges. We have to make India specific case for 5G," advised Mathews.

The statement said experts across the board agreed that the telecommunication services will migrate to 5G architecture sooner or later, and time has come to start serious preparation for standardisation and network upgradation.

"Making 5G India 2017 a truly global platform to conduct business, global players such as Huawei, VMWare, Keysight Technologies, Juniper, RedHat, Rohde & Schwarz, RV Solutions and TrustinSoft showcased and presented their innovative and cutting edge technologies to 500 plus industry audience at the event," the statement added.

TEC is the nodal agency of the Department of Telecommunications in the Ministry of Communications, and is responsible for drawing up of standards, generic requirements, interface requirements, service requirements and specifications for telecom products, services and networks.