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The Biggest Gap In Jio, Airtel And Vodafone’s 5G Ambition

India’s telecom operators Reliance’s Jio Infocomm Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., and Vodafone Idea Ltd. are likely to face challenges in execution and development of 5G ecosystem, according to BofA Securities and Credit Suisse. The key, they said, will be developing use cases to generate demand for 5G services.

“Unlike 4G where ‘watching video’ turned out to be a killer-app enticing users to move to 4G, we are not seeing anything similar in 5G yet to entice users to move to 5G,” Sachin Salgaonkar and Priyank Mahajan, research analysts at BofA Securities, wrote in a Sept. 5 note.

“In an emerging market like India, we need to see good killer apps for uptake of 5G,” they wrote. “In our view, better video resolution will unlikely be a killer app.”

“Globally, most of the 5G use cases are fixed wireless access connectivity, AR/VR immersive experiences, gaming, etc.” they said. “But none of them are at meaningful scale. Mass-scale unique apps are key for 5G to pick-up.”

If India doesn’t see good use-cases appealing to a mass audience, the note said, then Jio’s first-mover advantage in 5G could be neutralised.

“Bharti could either buy 700 MHz or refarm its 900 MHz overtime to use it for 5G,” the note said. “Some apps which have potential to be key apps are cloud gaming given low latency needed, but could be a niche app currently.”

In Reliance Industries Ltd.’s 45th annual general meeting, Reliance Jio Chairman Akash Ambani focused on using 5G network for creating an immersive watching experience in the IPL, with the broadcast rights secured with them. “We believe Reliance could have a differentiated immersive offering of watching cricket matches with a unique 5G experience,” Ambani had said.

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