Develop local technology to counteract 5G – analysis
5G deployments around the world have emerged as one of the main battlegrounds of the US-China trade war, with the administration of Donald Trump applying considerable pressure on its allies and countries of influence to exclude companies Chinese of its next generation of mobile networks, emphasizing some of the possible dangers, including the ability of its products to spy on its users.
American warnings seem to be falling on deaf ears with a large majority of its traditional allies in Europe, Latin America and West Asia, allowing some role for Chinese telecommunications giants in their 5G networks. Huawei, the world market leader, has led the way, as it has secured more than 50 5G commercial contracts worldwide.
Despite the Trump-Narendra Modi bonhomie, even the Indian government has recently allowed Chinese companies, including Huawei, to participate in our 5G tests.
Huawei’s lowest prices compared to its competitors: Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm and Cisco, its legacy 4G networks that allow customers an easier transition to 5G, and their willingness to sign a promise of “no backdoor “to eliminate espionage activities, were some of the factors that pushed the government to make this decision.
Huawei also has a distinct advantage in technological superiority with several industry experts who say they can be 12-18 months ahead of their peers; with the gap that will only increase in the future with the decision of the previous year to increase the research and development (R&D) budget to an astronomical $ 15-20 billion.
The impact of the introduction of 5G will be even deeper; 5G wireless networks could have an increase of more than 20 times in connection speeds compared to current levels, with a minimum latency that means communication delay. This will allow the transmission of data in real time and will make possible the massive proliferation of many innovative industries, including autonomous transport driven by artificial intelligence, intelligent manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality, and the large-scale proliferation of Internet Things where billions of devices will be connected to the internet.
The Center had previously announced an ambitious plan to conduct 5G spectrum auctions earlier this year and carry out initial deployments by the end of 2020. However, India’s telecommunications sector is trying to delay deployments at least five years due to several reasons, especially for the exorbitant bidding base prices during these difficult economic times.
The dangers involved in the deployment of Chinese technologies can come with any of the foreign suppliers we choose, although to a much lesser extent, even if we mitigate the possible data breach pathways with strict data security laws and non-spy clauses “. . These foreign companies that own IPs will also capture most of the commercial value created by 5G.
The only way to avoid this is the creation of indigenous technologies and companies that are strictly under the scope of India, at least in 5G critical components and infrastructure. R&D costs and capital expenditure for this will amount to hundreds of millions or even billions, an unfeasible proposal for our private telecommunications sector that currently has a cumulative debt of more than Rs 7.5 lakh crore.
Local technologies are essential from our national security perspective, and will ensure that India can extract maximum value from the new developments that will be one of the foundations of our economy in the foreseeable future.
Anil K Antony is a technology entrepreneur; and the INC-Kerala Digital Media convener
The opinions expressed are personal.