India is already moving beyond the deployment of 5G technology to create and install its faster and superior successor: the sixth generation of telecom networks, or 6G. TIG-6G, the Technology Innovation Group on 6G, has developed the Bharat 6G Vision, a strategy to create 6G technology in India by 2030. The objective of this vision is to create and deploy 6G network technologies that provide secure, intelligent, and pervasive connectivity, enabling people all over the world to live better lives. The Vision statement emphasises India's commitment to socioeconomic prosperity, as well as the potential benefits of India’s pioneering 6G technology, which enables ultra-low latency and speeds of up to 1 terabit per second. This might be a game changer for the Indian economy.
The telecommunications industry is constantly developing, with a high rate of technical obsolescence. It has seen the transition from wire-line to mobile services, which has become people's lifeline. Mobile services have likewise evolved from 2G to 3G to 4G to 5G, and now 6G is on the horizon. India is a bright spot in the global economy, and the telecom sector is the brightest area in India. Various citizen and industry-centric reforms have resulted in a transparent spectrum auction of over 1.5 lakh crores in a record time of 42 days and 2.70 lakh 5G sites in 9 months, making it one of the world's quickest rollouts. The primary goals of the Bharat 6G Vision Document are to position India as a global leader in 6G technology, to support indigenous 6G research and development, and to foster innovation and growth in the Indian telecom industry. On March 23, 2023, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi presented India's 6G Vision "Bharat 6G Vision" manifesto, which envisions India as a front-line contributor to the design, development, and implementation of 6G technology by 2030.
The Bharat 6G Vision is founded on the principles of affordability, sustainability, and ubiquity. It assures that India takes its due place in the world as a leading supplier of modern telecom technology and solutions that are affordable and contribute to the global good.
Bharat 6G Mission
India just introduced 5G, which at its peak can deliver internet speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second; at the same time, 6G promises ultra-low latency with speeds of up to 1 terabit per second. In other words, 6G users will be able to download more than 100 films per minute due to 6G's ability to sustain high data speeds of 1 terabit per second. In addition, 6G will be able to use cases such as digital twins, holograms, and genuinely immersive extended reality applications, among many other characteristics. It is regarded as the first technology to provide integration between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, implying that a single device will be capable of operating across several technologies. It will connect billions of machines and gadgets, ushering in a significant shift in bringing the virtual and real worlds together.
A turning point in Indian technology was reached with the introduction of 6G, which revolutionised human-to-human, human-to-machine, and machine-to-machine interactions. According to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Ashwini Vaishnaw, India recently obtained over 127 patents for 6G technology from international organisations. This accomplishment has heightened interest in India's technological breakthroughs, with countries such as the United States expressing a strong desire to receive India's cutting-edge 6G technology. Several countries see India as a promising destination for investments in the 6G technology sector, owing to the country's large market size, the potential for a significant return on investment, and favourable government policies allowing for 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecom sector via the automatic route.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has accepted the 6G Vision Framework. India, through the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Communications, played an important role in developing the Framework. 6G standardization has successfully adopted ubiquitous connectivity, ubiquitous intelligence, and sustainability as essential components of 6G Technology, which has also improved India's standing in the global telecommunications industry.
Potential 6G Use cases
6G will enable hospitals to access patients on demand and in an emergency. Future ambulances will be fully AI-enabled and connected to the infrastructure. As a result, Hospital-to-Home (H2H) will be implemented as a mobile hospital on an intelligent vehicle platform with little reliance on hospitals, including doctors and nurses. Intelligent Wearable Devices (IWD) connected to the Internet will send psychological and physiological data (such as heartbeat, blood pressure, blood tests, health conditions, body weight, and nutrition) to testing and monitoring centres.
To create an intelligent predictive system using IoT and AI/ML approaches to anticipate yield, irrigation schedule, pesticide schedule, and crop health information.
With the integration of sensors, drones, and satellites, an unmanned surveillance grid mapping every inch of the border (high-accuracy localisation) will improve operational efficiency by delivering real-time inputs to commanders in field formations.
In collaboration with academia and industry, a new protocol for authentication and key management in 6G may be created.
With improved beamforming techniques now available in 5G, 6G should include dynamic radio coverage in a heterogeneous environment based on operation progress.
The digital twin can be used to imitate the real-time dynamic interplay between the virtual and actual battlefields to give an automated flow of information in operations.
The mining industry requires smart technology for real-time worker safety monitoring as well as remote teleoperation of mining equipment. Difficult wireless propagation medium, including the need for ad-hoc network construction, excellent localization capabilities, sensing capabilities, etc.
For Urban Air Mobility (UAM), 6G will be necessary. These electric vertical take-offs and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for passengers would be highly useful in cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore, where peak hour traffic is one of the most difficult difficulties. The market for eVTOL Air Taxis is predicted to grow to $14.7 billion by 2041. “Safe” Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), safeguard vulnerable road users. Innovations in Location/Speed Sensing will be necessary to improve Safety metrics.
There are numerous prospects in the Education sector, such as remote learning. However, another major aspect is an effective infrastructure for exam administration. 6G will allow video to transfer at such a high speed and adjacent edge processing will aid in compliance management. All major examinations, including JEE and NEET, can use 6G in exam administration.
Metaverse requires a real-time experience between what a person does and what their avatar performs, with no lag, hence very low latency. This necessitates super-fast, super-reliable, and everywhere network connectivity. Additionally, support the transition from 2D to 3D, holographic displays as processing power advances.
The Mission can be divided into two phases-Phase 1 from 2023-2025 (2 years) and Phase 2 from 2025-2030 (5 years). The government has spent US$ 27.17 million (Rs. 2,240 million) on a new 6G Test Bed that was created
in collaboration with a group of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to give start-ups, researchers, the business world, and other broadband wireless applications a platform for R&D. The Phase 1 of the Bharat 6G vision focuses on exploratory ideas. In Phase 1, funding will be available for exploratory concepts, riskier pathways, and proof-of-concept experiments. Phase 2 focuses on supporting ideas and concepts that show promise, as well as establishing implementational IPs and testbeds that will lead to commercialization. The ideas and concepts that exhibit promise and the potential to be embraced by the global peer community will also receive the necessary support to be developed to completion, to establish their use cases and benefits, and to produce the implementation IPs and test beds that will eventually lead to commercialization. The Modi government has also appointed an apex council to oversee the project and deal with issues such as standardisation, spectrum identification for 6G usage, funding for research and development, and creating an ecosystem for the system, among other things. It has been formed and charged with defining phase-wise objectives, consulting the Bharat 6G Alliance, recommending research and innovation directions, monitoring progress regularly, conducting external evaluations, and proposing corrective actions as needed. The apex council would facilitate and finance research and development, design, and development of 6G technologies by Indian start-ups, enterprises, research organisations, and universities. The council's primary focus will be on new technologies such as Terahertz communication, radio interfaces, tactile internet, artificial intelligence for linked intelligence, novel encoding methods, and waveform chipsets for 6G devices.
India's pursuit of 6G technology is a key step towards becoming a digitally enabled society. India, with its enormous population and fast-expanding digital infrastructure, stands to benefit greatly from the development and implementation of 6G technology. However, the widespread adoption of 6G in India will necessitate major investment in research and development, as well as infrastructure modifications to accommodate the new technology. Collaborative efforts between the government and industry leaders are critical to maintaining India's position as a technical innovator and preparing the country for the arrival of 6G technology. By implementing suitable investments and policies, India can continue to lead the global technology scene and benefit from the possibilities of 6G for many years to come.