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India’s first 5G-enabled auto manufacturing unit

GS Paper 3

Source: Indian Express


Context: Bharti Airtel and Tech Mahindra have announced a strategic partnership under which they have deployed a “5G for Enterprise” Solution i.e., a ‘captive private network’ at Mahindra and Mahindra’s Chakan facility in Maharashtra, making it India’s first 5G- enabled auto manufacturing unit.

  • The partnership is in line with Tech Mahindra’s NXT.NOWTM framework, which aims to enhance the “Human Centric Experience”, focuses on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of the customer.
  • As the industry 4.0 paradigm gathers momentum, reliable data networks will prove to be a key differentiator in factory and manufacturing performances.


About 5G:

  • The fifth generation of mobile networks, or 5G, is what comes after the 2G, 3G, and 4G generations. 5G is expected to deliver substantially higher connection speeds.


About private 5G network:

  • Also called a captive non-public network (CNPN), it is a network that is set up solely for a firm’s own use. Unlike a public network, it is closed to external communication.
  • The network relies on high-frequency, low-wavelength airwaves and is therefore ideal for institutions like factories, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities etc.


Significance of the move:

  • Airtel and Tech Mahindra’s partnership shows the opportunity for collaboration between telcos and private enterprises.


How will the private 5G network work at the Chakan plant?

  • Improved speeds for software flashing – a critical operation for all vehicular dispatches – and allow managers to undertake multiple software flashing sessions in parallel, thereby reducing the turn-around time for an operation.


Difference between 4G and 5G:

FrequencyUses utilise much higher radio frequencies of 28 GHz.Uses lower reading frequencies of 700 MHz to 2500 MHz.
SpeedTransfer more data over the air at faster speeds.Speed is lesser with less data transfer.
 Data transfer speed is up to 1 GbpsSupports data bandwidth in Mbps
LatencyHas ultra-reliable low latency (ranging between 10 milliseconds and 1 millisecond) i.e., the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction.Has higher latency (20-30 milliseconds)
Spectrum &


Uses a millimetre wave spectrum which enables more devices to be used within the same geographic area supporting around one million per square kilometre.Support a lesser number of devices of about 4,000 devices per square kilometre.
CoverageUses a new digital technology that improves coverage, speed and capacity.Has led to more congestion and lesser coverage as compared to 5G.
Other AdvantagesHas added advantages for machine learning, robotics, IoT and other programming modules. It can provide faster processing of data.Limited


Opportunities of using 5G:

  • High-speed and Digital India
  • Better Governance: Better speed and connectivity would reduce red-tapism
  • Employment generation: 5G will open greater opportunities for new device manufacturers and application developers.
  • Enhanced coverage: Device-to-device communication techniques will further enhance network performance.
  • Reduced digital gap: small cell concept used in 5G will have multiple advantages of better cell coverage, maximum data transfer, low power consumption and cloud access network etc.
  • Entertainment and multimedia industry: Analysts found that 55% of mobile Internet traffic has been used for video downloads globally in 2015.
  • Enhanced Security: 5G wireless technology is one the best solution for security surveillance due to higher bandwidth and unlicensed spectrum.
  • Logistics and Shipping: Logistic and shipping industry can make use of smart 5G technology for goods tracking, fleet management etc.
  • Boost Smart cities
  • Industrial Growth
  • Agricultural applications: 5g technology can be used for agriculture and smart farming in future. Using smart RFID sensors and GPS technology.
  • Healthcare and mission-critical applications
  • Education


Challenges for India:

  • Indian operators have far less spectrum in comparison to international operators.
  • Indian spectrum is also rather expensive.
  • The high investment cost makes telecom companies unsure about Return on Investment.
  • The switch from 4G to 5G will be infrastructure intensive and the development of infrastructure for 5G is very expensive.
  • The transition experience from one technology generation to another is not very good as one has to buy a whole new phone to start using the latest cellular technology, thereby creating financial liability.


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Q. Discuss the benefits of 5G technology, its potential and challenges for implementation on a large scale in India.