The telecom carriers in India are expected to invest around $19.5 billion in the development of advanced infrastructure for 5G by 2025, according to a GSMA report.
The report showed that 5G could benefit the Indian economy by $455 billion between 2023 and 2040, or more than 0.6 per cent of the GDP forecast for 2040, reflecting the large number of 5G use cases that could be implemented in the main sectors of India's economy.
"5G benefits are expected to be realised in new applications in the manufacturing sector (representing 20 per cent of the total benefit) as well as the retail, ICT and agricultural sectors," the findings showed.
However, while the Indian government has assigned two carriers of 250 MHz each in the E-band to address the current need to support 5G rollouts, this may not be enough in the 5G era given the requirement for high-capacity backhaul to support use cases and increased data traffic.
"Clear policy guidelines on the allocation of backhaul spectrum arenecessary," the report said.
5G will be a key enabler of enterprise digital transformation processes across manufacturing, energy and utilities, banking, transportation, healthcare, sports and retail in the country.
"The consumer and enterprise segments both present significant opportunities for 5G services in India. However, further reforms are required to support the development of advanced telecom infrastructure is a fundamental driver for a digital society," said the report titled 'India: on the road to a digital nation'.
There still exists a substantial digital divide in India, with lack of literacy and skills remaining the greatest barrier preventing large swathes of the population from participating in the digital economy and the social and economic benefits it can bring to their lives.
"Given the importance of 5G to India's digital future, it has become critical for the government and the mobile industry to collectively evolve and ensure the sustainable growth of the mobile industry," the GSMA report mentioned.
While Reliance Jio rolls out standalone 5G services in select cities in the country by Diwali, which falls on October 24, Bharti Airtel is set to kick off 5G roll out within a month.
Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has also said that 5G services are expected to be rolled out from October.