Mobile backhaul will be a key challenge for operators, as India looks to prepare for 5G next year

India’s 5G journey will be underpinned by 5 key pillars, according to senior representatives from India’s disruptive operator, Reliance Jio.

Jio’s chief technology officer, Shyam Mardikar, told attendees at the ET Telecom 5G Congress in Delhi that 5G was about much more than just spectrum.

“There is so much more to 5G – In fact we have identified five key pillars: High speed connectivity, a virtualised and distributed core, closer cooperation with our customers, a robust and affordable device ecosystem and of course a powerful radio offering with larger spectrum,” he said.

Echoing the sentiments of a number of speakers earlier in the day, Mardikar identified backhaul as a potential stumbling block for India’s mobile network operators.

“Backhaul is potentially the hardest challenge. If we don’t sort the backhaul out properly, the 5G experience will be like driving a Ferrari on a road that is completely clogged up with road works and traffic. In that scenario, the Ferrari becomes completely useless,” he said.

The availability of reasonably priced smartphones will also be a key challenge for 5G uptake in India. Jio’s relentless focus on bringing the lowest cost 4G data tariffs and handsets to its customers looks set to continue, as the country moves into the 5G era.

“Where are the 5G devices? How do we get that side of the equation up and running? If we don’t focus on the consumer with 5G it will be like putting the cart before the horse. It’s that fundamental,” he said. 


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