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Services will remain affordable even with 5G, says telecom minister

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said 5G services in the country are expected to begin in October and the telecom sector will remain one of the most affordable in the world, even with 5G.

“We had requested the industry to start the process of setting up equipment all over the country. The auction concluded yesterday and today our committee has already held a meeting to approve the spectrum allocation. Maybe by August 10 we can allocate the spectrum and we should be able to roll out 5G in October,” Ashwini Vaishnaw told India Today.

“The Indian telecom market is the most affordable in the world. I hope that trend will continue even in 5G,” he added.

The Union minister further stated that the level of radiation is 10 times lower than that of the US and Europe, quashing reports of harm caused due to electromagnetic radiation.

“A low radiation means we have the ability to provide good quality services. We have a safe and secure environment, we should be raising the EMFs rather than keeping them at the current level,” the minister said.

Speaking about the equipment that will be used to provide 5G services, minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said ramping up of 5G handsets will be done once the services are rolled out.

“We are the second largest manufacturers of mobile phones in the world. Close to 25-30 per cent of mobile phones manufactured in India are 5G-enabled. The cost of 5G phones is coming down every year. Over a period of one year, most of the phones will be 5G enabled,” he said.

Speaking about a possible revival of BSNL and its role in the telecom sector, Ashwini Vaishnaw said telecom is a strategic sector and BSNL plays an important role as the market stabilising force.

“It is a sector which can affect the country’s security in a big way. Almost all of the critical infrastructure is done by BSNL and it reaches remote villages, reducing the digital divide. When new technologies come up we need a large platform to scale up and test these,” the minister said.

“Despite all the issues, BSNL has a loyal 10 crore subscriber base in the country, so BSNL must become a vibrant, tech-savvy company in a highly competitive telecom market,” he added.

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