#Budget2022: 5G mobile services rollout in FY2022-23, says FinMin Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2022-23 in Parliament on Tuesday. In her fourth Budget presentation, she announced that spectrum auctions will be carried out in 2022 to enable the launch of 5G services. Further, she added that 5G mobile services will be rolled out by private telecom players in India in FY 2022-23. Here's more.
During her speech, Sitharaman highlighted the auctions for the spectrum would be held this year, while the implementation of 5G services will happen in 2023. She also announced the launch of a design-led manufacturing scheme for the 5G ecosystem under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme. This would also enable the launch of affordable mobile and broadband services in rural and remote areas.
While India is set to introduce commercial 5G mobile services as early as next year, reports suggest that these telecom services will be initially launched in major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad.
On the other hand, leading Indian telcos, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vi (Vodafone Idea), are reportedly in different stages of 5G network trials. Meanwhile, the Centre has also been holding discussions with telecom companies and other stakeholders over the spectrum auctions for the final phase for the 5G launch. The auctions are likely to take place within the next few months.
Sitharaman's announcement of the commercial rollout of 5G services next year has, however, pushed the 5G launch back by one year as many were expecting the same to happen in 2022. Meanwhile, the Indian smartphone market is already 5G-ready as major device makers, including Apple, Samsung, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Motorola, among others, have been launching handsets that support 5G technology for a while now.
Commenting on Sitharaman's 5G services launch announcement, expert Ritesh Kumar—Partner at IndusLaw—opined, "This is going to bring the next wave of data accessibility and enhance the quality of digital interactions." "From a government income point of view, 5G auctions should bring in quite a coffer," said Kumar as the income from these auctions is expected to be among the government's biggest non-tax revenue contributors.
Notably, moving away from the tradition of Bahi Khata, Sitharaman on Tuesday reached the Parliament with a "Made-in-India" tablet to present a paperless Union Budget just like the last year. The Union Budget 2022 marks the fourth Budget by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in its second tenure and the tenth overall Budget presented by the Modi government.