5G - the next big thing in wireless technology which would offer more speed for end users and also have the capacity to connect the billions of devices like household appliances which will connect to the internet in the near future. 5G is capable of delivering speeds of over one 1 gigabite per second and support several devices at once. It is expected to be rolled out in early 2020. Tech researchers all over the world are working towards developing this technology. Not to be left far behind, Indian government has hired a research team to work on 5G technology. This team has already filed 100 patents so far — of which around 10 have already been granted.
"We are scaling up fast and switching gears because 5G is just around the corner," said Kiran Kuchi, a professor at the department of electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad. Kuchi, who is part of the team which includes researchers from the IISc Bangalore, IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Madras and CEWiT (Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology, IIT Madras) added that they expect to file a lot more patents in the next few years.
Most of these patents have been filed simultaneously in the US and in India. Not only the Indian government but private stakeholders like Reliance Jio along with Tata Teleservices and Tejas Networks and a host of startups are are also a part of the research team trying to help them by lending their manpower and equipment. "This is the first time that India has contributed at this level on the global stage. This is a coherent, long-term and a result-oriented project," said Kuchi.
"The fact that we are trying to take so many patents into the global 5G standards will benefit the Indian industry hugely," added Kuchi.
This research project was commissioned by the ministry of electronics and ITand was approved in September 2015 with an investment of Rs. 36.51 crore over a period of three years.
Union minister of electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The research team will also jointly develop advanced simulators and technology prototypes. The IP developed in this project will be contributed for 5G standardisation."
An official of the ministry added that the idea behind the ongoing work is to generate indigenous IP which can provide India some bargaining power. "One-fifth of the cost of an telecom equipment is the royalty paid to the patent holder, so when we have a set of our own IP, it can motivate domestic manufacturing and reduce costs," added the official. He further added, "World over governments in China, UK, and others are pumping money in 5G and we can't miss the boat."