Friday, December 03, 2021

Airtel takes the lead in bringing 5G to India: Here’s what it means for you

5G is not just improving mobile video streaming quality, but also going beyond the two-dimensional with panoramic virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and ultra-high-definition (UHD), offering multisensory experiences.


Updated: March 19, 2021 7:03:10 pm
5G will be at least a hundred times faster than 4G. (Source: Pixabay)

From retail to cloud gaming, immersive entertainment and autonomous vehicles, 5G is set to change how we interact with each other, across geographies. Capable of supporting superfast data, with 10 to 100 times faster speeds than 4G, it will enable us to realise the potential of a fully connected world.

In January 2021, Airtel  demonstrated LIVE 5G service in Hyderabad and became the first Indian telco to do so over a commercial network. It was able to deliver 10x speeds, 10x improvement in latency and 100x concurrency when compared to existing technologies. It demonstrated this range over its existing liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology. Using a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing, Airtel seamlessly operated 5G and 4G concurrently within the same spectrum block. This validated Airtel‘s 5G readiness and it’s a sign that 5G is not too far for consumer access.

While 4G technology laid the foundation for faster internet speeds, making ecommerce, video streaming and smartphones a regular part of our lives, here are some ways that 5G promises to affect our day to day lives. 

Enhanced online shopping experience

Interactive fitting rooms, real-time virtual trials, walk-through checkouts are all part of the coming retail revolution, which will be made possible by 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency which will lend itself to augmented reality (AR). While customers can already visualise how certain pieces of furniture fit into their living rooms or pick the right spectacles to suit their face, 5G will allow you to browse a store and shop virtually via your AR and VR glasses. If you’re stuck in traffic and want to drop in at the grocery store without time to waste, an app on your 5G-powered mobile phone can check inventory in nearby stores and come up with the right match, creating an immersive virtual shopping experience. 

Cloud gaming 

The fact that 5G will be at least a hundred times faster than 4G, with the capacity for speeds as high as 10 Gbps in some cases, is good news for cloud gaming. This means the quality of gameplay will not depend on your device since the game processing will happen on the cloud. All your phone will have to do is act as a screen and controller, and you will be able to play even console games on it. Cloud gaming relies heavily on fast data speed and low latency, two things 5G is known for. Not only can it deliver giga-speed but also latency as low as 10 milliseconds. In fact, according to Mordor Intelligence, the Cloud Gaming Market is expected to touch USD 2.70 billion by 2025, from USD 1.15 billion in 2019.

Immersive entertainment

5G is not just improving mobile video streaming quality, but also going beyond the two-dimensional with panoramic virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and ultra-high-definition (UHD), offering multisensory experiences. With 5G, the image resolution too, goes up to 4K and 8K (from the current 720p or 1080p), making on-demand and live-streamed videos that much more potent. The multidimensional format allows virtual access to the audience in stadiums or theatres, where they can choose a front-row seat to the action or pick various camera views, all thanks to the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G. The growing popularity of eSports may just end up rivalling traditional sports.

AR, VR, or 3D promise a richer, live experience. (Source: Pixabay)

Richer communication experiences

Lightning-fast speeds and lower latency translate into effective communication too, with uninterrupted high-resolution video and audio streaming without any lag. Offices will be able to remotely plug into locations around the world and have a full team meeting, with hundreds and thousands of people present. All this without call drops or technological glitches. As 5G combines with AI, video editing and production will be much easier. The high bandwidth will also allow massive presentations to be shared and downloaded in seconds. It will be easier to make meaningful connections with customers, too, with applications like AR, VR, or 3D providing a richer, live experience.

Autonomous vehicles

The future is filled with exciting possibilities, such as self-driving or driverless cars, all powered by 5G. The market size for self-driving cars, supported by the 5G network, is predicted at 560 billion USD by 2035, according to a study by Kearney, based on interviews with over 150 automobile decision-makers around the world. Relying on V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) technology, the Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (uRLLC) powered by 5G cellular networks will enable the vehicles to make real-time decisions in milliseconds, so that they can process data at super speed to sense obstacles on the route, etc. This means fewer accidents and stress-free commutes. 

A world of opportunities awaits us with 5G, with boundless scope for creativity, limited only by our imagination. And in India, Airtel is ready to bring it to us.

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