Ericsson investing under PLI scheme to prepare for Indian 5G requirements

Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson is investing in India under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom to enhance its production capabilities and prepare for deliveries to its Indian customers for 4G and 5G requirements.

“We are making the technology available relevant for India and making sure that we are covering all the requirements that will come in India and also preparing ourselves for production and delivery out of India,” Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India and head of network solutions for Southeast Asia, Oceania and India at Ericsson, told reporters on Tuesday. Bansal said Ericsson’s production facility in Pune through its contract manufacturing partner, Jabil, is scalable and expandable as per the requirements of local and global markets.

“We need to build the capabilities.” He said that Indian telecom operators are also making investments to be prepared for the 5G technology and are preparing for spectrum auctions. “There will be investments from other enterprises who want to adopt 5G services and also from those who are developing the use cases across consumer and enterprise. So yes, everyone is investing in their own area of expertise,” Bansal added. “The industry and technology are continuously evolving and we all need to invest to keep pace with it.” Bansal said ongoing 5G field trials show the readiness of the Indian telecom industry for the high-speed internet technology.

“Once the spectrum auction takes place, deployments can start,” he said. The Indian government is expected to conduct 5G spectrum auctions in April-May next year. Ericsson, in its latest Mobility Report, estimated that India will have 500 million 5G mobile subscriptions by the end of 2027, representing 39% of India’s mobile subscriptions which are projected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2027 even as 4G is expected to remain the dominant technology in India at that time.

The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to be 810 million at the end of 2021. Ericsson recently received the trusted sources approval along with Nokia, Cisco and Tejas from India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).

However, these companies are yet to receive trusted products approval, which is required for telcos to place new purchase orders for their 4G and 5G related deployments. “It’s work in progress… As and when we are requested information, we provide the information,” Bansal said.

He said that 4G is expected to remain a dominant technology for India, even in 2027. But there is likely to be a drop from around 719 million currently to about 710 million in 2027. “So, 4G subscriptions are expected to reduce from 68% to 55% [between 2021 and 2027],” said Bansal. The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to be 810 million at the end of 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7%, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2027, the company said in its report. The increased reliance on mobile networks to stay connected and work-from-home has driven the average traffic per smartphone to 18.4GB per month in 2021, up from 16.1GB per month in 2020.


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