Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the country's first 5G testbed to enable startups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities.
He also announced that India is targeting the rollout of 6G telecom network, which will provide ultra high speed internet connectivity, by the end of the decade.
Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the Prime Minister said the 5G testbed is an important step for self-reliance in the direction of critical and modern technologies.
The testbed has been set up at a cost of around Rs 220 crore and the facility will be available at 5 different locations.
"I invite youth friends, researchers and companies to utilise the testing facility for making 5G technology," Modi said.
In the absence of a 5G testbed, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation in a 5G network.
The 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras.The other institutes that participated in the project are IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT). India currently has 3G and 4G telecom networks and companies are gearing up to launch 5G over the next few months.
Speaking at the silver jubilee event of telecom sector regulator TRAI here, he said it is estimated that the 5G network rollout will add USD 450 billion to the Indian economy.
"This is not just increasing internet speed but also the pace of development and creating jobs," he said, adding the 5G technology will bring positive change in governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business.
It will boost growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics, he said.
Connectivity, Modi said, will decide the progress of the country in the 21st century and so modern day infrastructure needs to be rolled out.
According to the prime minister, a task force has started work on rolling out 6G network by the end of the decade.
Taking potshots at the previous Congress-led UPA government, Modi said the 2G era was symbolic of policy paralysis and corruption.
Teledensity and internet users are fast expanding, he said, adding that mobile manufacturing units in India have expanded from 2 to over 200 and the country is now the world's biggest mobile manufacturing hub.
The prime minister also said that his government has encouraged healthy competition that has led to India having one of the cheapest telecom data charges in the world.
(With PTI Inputs)