Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc

Trending in news: 5G Technology


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 5G Technology

Mains level: 5G Technology and the Huawei issue

One of India’s business tycoon recently announced that his company’s telecom venture has designed and developed from scratch, a complete indigenous 5G solution ready for deployment.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.With reference to communication technologies, what is/are the difference/differences between LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution)?

  1. LTE ‘is commonly marketed as 3G and VoLTE is commonly marketed as advanced 3G.
  2. LTE is data-only technology and VoLTE is voice-only technology.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

What is 5G?

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  • The first generation of networks allowed only mobile voice calls to be made, while the second generation allowed mobile voice calls as well as sending of short text messages.
  • It was the third generation or 3G network which allowed web browsing on mobile devices, the speed and latency of which improved with fourth-generation or 4G networks.
  • The 5G networks will have even faster speeds with latency down to between 1-10 milliseconds.

(Note: Latency is the time a device takes to communicate with the network, which stands at an average of up to 50 milliseconds for 4G networks across the world.)

How does 5G work?

All 5G networks chiefly operate on three spectrum bands.

  • The low-band spectrum has been proven to have great coverage and works fast even in underground conditions. However, the maximum speed limit on this band is 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • In the mid-band spectrum, though the speeds are higher, telcos across the world have registered limitations when it comes to coverage area and penetration of telephone signals into buildings.
  • The high-band spectrum offers the highest speed but has extremely limited network coverage area and penetration capabilities.

The telcos using this band rely on the existing LTE networks and will need to install a number of smaller towers to ensure adequate coverage and high-speed performance.

What does it mean to be 5G ready?

  • Globally many companies have been deploying 5G networks across their service areas as early as 2018.
  • Not only the network, but the devices will also have to be 5G ready for customers to be able to enjoy the maximum benefits of the latest upgrade in mobile broadband.
  • One of the major improvements in 5G is the use of beam tracking to follow all devices on the network to ensure consistent connection in real-time for the device.
  • 5G networks are also designed to multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) efficient which improves signal throughput for all devices on the network.

Where does India stand on the deployment of 5G?

  • Companies, both telecom service providers and their equipment vendors, have completed lab trials of 5G network components but are yet to commence field trials, which were initially scheduled to happen last year.
  • For the same, telecom companies are awaiting allocation of test spectrum from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
  • The service providers have already tied up with equipment makers like Nokia, Ericsson, etc for deploying their 5G networks.

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