Chipset maker Qualcomm sees 5G-ready phones entering India in the next two quarters as manufacturers are keen on tapping the digital consumer well before telecom operators roll out the supporting network. The chip manufacturer, which has its second largest workforce based out of India, is confident of driving the 5G rollout with partner ecosystem in the country, said Rajen Vagadia, vice-president and President Qualcomm India and SAARC. “We see as early as this quarter or the next when affordable 5G phones will start launching in India. People are looking for long-term investments in devices now and will be using those when the rollout happens eventually," he said. It has lined up a series of chipsets for 5G and 4G next year, in addition to the ones launched.
Qualcomm has lined up a series of chipsets ready for 5G and 4G as over the next year, in addition to the ones launched. Telecom operators will eventually join the 5G lane as it will be cheaper than providing 4G services, say equipment providers. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) though has only earmarked mid-band spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz range for 5G services at present.
Qualcomm recently announced that it was working closely with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Flipkart, and Amazon India to develop India-relevant 5G use cases.
"We contributed a lot in case of 4G LTE through our work with Jio, leveraging our global learning. The same will happen for 5G."
Vagadia said the operators would have to focus on the millimeter wave spectrum, which will be very critical for this purpose in India, with particular use for enterprises as well for low latency communication.
Wualcomm has 10,000-strong engineering work force in the country. The company has introduced three chipsets - Snapdragon 865 5G, Snapdragon 765 5G, and Snapdragon 765G 5G - last month.
Unlike in case of previous generations, cellular network technologies like 2G, 3G or 4G, when the rollout took place in India much later than it happened globally, the discussions around 5G are happening almost simultaneously in India, he said. "Unlike previous generations, 5G can coexist with 4G and use the same infrastructure. It will be much richer on dedicated 5G network but 4G spectrum can still be used with technology like Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS)."
Qualcomm is working with start-ups in the country on connectivity based solutions. The company also partners with these companies to help them apply for patents and own the IP.
The company is also working closely with Indian equipment manufacturers to develop solutions, said Vagadia. Qualcomm has committed a $150 million venture fund specifically targeting the Indian start-ups.