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Lack of real-life use cases preventing major telcos from charging for 5G

Telcos are looking for services that fully leverage 5G tech. In the absence of such services, the telcos have no option but to offer 5G services at 4G rates

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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It has been a year since telecom operators launched 5G services in the country, but the technology has found limited takers. India's leading telcos, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are expected to have together spent Rs 90,000 crore in the financial year 2023-24 to deploy 5G infrastructure, according to a report published in Financial Express (FE). Due to the lack of meaningful use cases, these companies have been unable to recover their investment. Lack of such services prevents telcos from charging a premium rate, the report said.

As things stand, for most users with a 5G smartphone, 4G fulfills all their needs. The two companies are on the lookout for a service or application that can replace 4G with 5G and drive users to upgrade. In the absence of such services, the telcos have no option but to offer 5G services at 4G rates, the FE report added.

President of Broadband India Forum, TV Ramachandran was cited in the FE report as saying, "It is an open secret that the technology does not provide business viability. This is unsurprising since the experience everywhere is that the real use case of 5G today is only speed and, generally speaking, 4G speeds are more than adequate to provide good quality of experience for customers".

CEO of Bharti Airtel, Gopal Vittal, echoed Ramachandran's thoughts and told FE, that the real challenge of 5G technology is the real use case of its speed. More applications are required that really leverage this technology, which is not happening, he added. This is not the case only in India, but also in other countries, Vittal said.

Talking about the scope of 5G, the President of Reliance Jio, Mathew Oomen said that the monetisation gains from the 5G technology can be made only through enterprise users.

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First Published: Nov 21 2023 | 1:09 PM IST

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