India’s 5G rollout cost to be highest among 15 emerging nations: study

The overall cost of 5G rollout in India – at up to $75 billion – will be the highest among 15 emerging nations between 2020 and 2035, according to a study by Analysys Mason that was commissioned by Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson.

However, the baseline cost of 5G rollout is expected to be $3-$8 billion per country, with an additional 20-35% investment required for extending coverage, as per the study. The study covered emerging nations such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

“Extending coverage beyond the baseline can generate significant GDP benefits from industrial adoption, especially from mid-band coverage extension,” it said.

Most of the deployment costs are expected to be incurred by 2028-29, by which time the fifth-generation networks will be fully rolled out across the existing network grid in most countries.

At a cost of about $900 million to extend low-band coverage, 5G services in India are expected to deliver economic benefits totalling $15.6 billion between 2020 and 2035 with smart rural segment having the highest share ($9.4 billion), followed by smart industry ($5.4 billion), smart logistics ($0.9 billion), and smart public services ($0.1 billion).

In contrast, extending mid-band 5G coverage in India at a cost of $6.4 billion can help reap economic benefits to the tune of $44.8 billion in the same period.

India will benefit the most from an economic perspective among the comparable emerging nations, the data from the study showed. India’s top telecom operators, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel, started rolling out their 5G networks based on the standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) architecture, respectively, from October.

The telcos are aiming to achieve a pan-India coverage of 5G by 2023-24. Third-ranked Vodafone Idea has, however, yet to announce a concrete timeline for the same.

“With regulatory and government support, all fifteen countries could benefit from GDP growth between 0.3% and 0.46% through 2035, with an estimated three-to-seven-fold cost-to-benefit ratio,” Ericsson said in the study.

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