India will set up 100 5G labs to develop new apps: FM

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Mumbai: India will set up 100 5G labs to develop new applications and services, according to Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman.

While presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament today, FM Sitharaman in her speech, announced that a total of 100 labs will be set up in engineering institutions in collaboration with various authorities, regulators, banks and other businesses for developing applications using 5G services.

“To realise the new range of opportunities, business models and employment potential, the labs will cover, among others, applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems and healthcare applications,” she said.

This announcement comes after India announced the 5G services rollout later last year with private telecom companies launching their 5G services across the country in a phase-wise manner. Indian government’s decision to set up 100 5G labs has been welcomed by industries, particularly in the IT, telecom and education space.

“With the ongoing 5G rollouts in India, the government’s decision to establish 100 5G labs to develop applications is a timely move to spur innovation in developing the 5G ecosystem and India relevant use cases,” said Manoranjan Mohapatra, CEO of Comviva – a mobility solutions company.

Calling the Indian government’s move to set up CoE for AI and 100 5G labs an extremely positive initiative, Mohapatra said these labs shall bring technological advancements to the country as AI and 5G are the two most critical elements to enable futuristic innovations and developed related 5G ecosystem.

According to Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC)’s CEO Arvind Bali, with the proposed initiatives such as 30 Skill India international centres, 100 5G labs for developing applications and CoE for AI, India has the potential to deliver talent not only across domestic markets but also to the international market.

“It’s encouraging to see continued support for digital payment systems, digital document integration, and the creation of a digital public infrastructure for agritech and fintech. Introduction of Digital lockers, Digital Library, e-Courts, and the promise of one hundred research labs to create applications for 5G were the landmark announcements,” Sudhir Kunder, Country Director of DE-CIX India commented on Union Budget 2023-34 announcements by FM Sitharaman.

Calling India’s plan to set up 100 5G labs a “crucial turning point,” Lime Chat platform’s Co-Founder Aniket Bajpai said, “The setting up of 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services will be a crucial turning point in India’s digital transformation journey, and we look forward to participating in this vibrant ecosystem.”

According to Abhijeet Sinha, Director of DIISHA  (Digital Innovations Interventions for Sustainable Healthtech Action), these 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services bring a new range of opportunities, business models and employment.

“These labs shall focus on agriculture, transport education and health and apart from health care applications it shall also cover smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems,” said Sinha.

Commenting on FM Sitharaman’s proposed budget initiatives, Gaurav Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Echelon Edge said the 5G ecosystem in India will get further stimulus from this budget.

“100 labs for developing applications using 5G services are to be set up in engineering institutions. These labs will effectively develop 5G services to be implemented in a variety of fields. This holds some potential for private 5G deployment in these institutions and further growth of private networks for research purposes,” added Gandhi.

Further, “These 100 5G labs shall also help the telecom sector which has been at the centre of mobile telephony distribution in India. More than 50 cities in the country have access to 5G services, so these labs will help them cover applications such as smart classroom, precision farming, intelligent transport system and healthcare,” he added.

‘The setting up of 100 5G enabled labs to develop apps in engineering institutions and 3 CoE for Artificial Intelligence is a major step towards ‘Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India’ and helps in shaping the new engineer of today,” said Dr Yajulu Medury, Vice Chancellor of Mahindra University.

Industries have welcomed FM Sitharaman’s plan for India to set up 100 5G labs. It is being seen with tremendous interest and the potential to drive huge opportunities in near future.

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