US is getting 5G network. Will India's struggle with 3G ever end?

The world is gearing up for a 5G revolution but will it ever find its way in India?

American telecommunication conglomerate AT&T has unveiled its plans of introducing 5G network in two cities of the US. Austin and Indianapolis are the two lucky cities that are going to get AT&T’s ‘5G Evolution’ network, which the company is also calling ‘3.0 Indigo’ or simply ‘Indigo’. The aim is to achieve the theoretical speed of 400 megabytes per second over its wireless cellular network, a speed that is unheard of so far. Though 5G is expected to run on a humongous speed of 1 gigabytes per second, Indigo is a stepping stone in this direction as it plans to use the existing technology– hardware and software– to create a solid ground that would need little upgradations for sustaining the super speed that 5G is going to bring in.

The world today is witnessing a shift in terms of the mode of accessing the Internet. People across the globe are increasingly accessing the web from their smartphones. Reduction in the cost of smartphones combined with steady network connection has further fueled this revolution. At a time when the world is breaking records by constantly upgrading its network (2G, 3G, 3G LTE, 4G and 4G LTE), the constancy of the network speed remains an issue even in the most advanced economies.

According to a report by a cellular network research organisation Open Signal, the country that enjoys the highest speed over its cellular data network (3G and 4G included) is South Korea, wherein the top speed that the users get is around 41.34 Mbps. Shortly behind South Korea are Singapore and Hungary that enjoy an overall cellular data network speeds of 31.19 Mbps and 26.15 Mbps respectively. India, on the other hand, remains far behind as the users get an overall cellular data speed of just 5.30 Mbps.

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Even though 4G spectrum made a stellar entry in India and the telecom operators are steadily upgrading their networks from 3G to 4G, the condition of network data speed remains deplorable. Granted that 4G is a latecomer our country and it would take some time for it to settle in a diverse land like ours, even so, the network providers are struggling in sustaining 3G connectivity most of the times even in the metropolitan cities. The condition is such that some pockets of the country even experience network connectivity fluctuating between ‘unavailability of network’ and 3G network. Limited network towers combined with exorbitantly increasingly load on the existing infrastructure has only aggravated the condition further.

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AT&T has already conducted a successful trial of its 5G network in a business environment and is now gearing up for setting up dedicated 5G outdoor and indoor test locations in Austin, thereby indicating that the 5G revolution is closer than it seems.

On one hand, where the countries are strengthening their 4G infrastructure and gearing up for the 5G revolution, India is still struggling to maintain stable 3G connectivity across the country. Though it would be unfair to say that we as a country aren’t making any progress in the telecom sector, but the sluggish speed of the Internet tells a tale that we can’t turn a blind eye to. With a network that is constantly juggling between 3G and 2G connectivity and aiming for complete 4G connectivity, it is highly unlikely that India’s fight for achieving high-speed wireless data connectivity will come to an end anytime soon. Till then, sit tight and keep holding on as we have a long way to go.