On January 5, 2023, the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched 5G services in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Odisha. Both Jio and Airtel, the only two telecom operators currently offering 5G services in India, are targeting a PAN India rollout within the next 2-3 years. The 5G network, which is said to be 20-30 times faster than the existing 4G connection, will offer faster network speeds and connectivity to users.
Jio, in particular, has announced that it will begin sending out its Jio Welcome offer invite to users in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack starting on January 5. Under the offer, users will be able to connect to the new network on their 5G phones and get up to 1 Gbps internet speeds on their existing 4G plans. To connect to Jio 5G, prepaid or postpaid users will need to have an active base plan of Rs 239 or higher.
Airtel, on the other hand, has officially launched 5G for commercial use. This means that users can connect to 5G on their 5G smartphones once the network is available in their area, without the need to wait for an invite.
The launch of 5G services in Odisha is part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s efforts to deploy 5,000 towers across 7,000 villages in the state. The government has earmarked Rs 5,600 crores for this initiative, with the aim of providing statewide coverage by August 2024.
The rollout of 5G in Odisha is a significant milestone for the state, which has been positioning itself as a hub for technology and professional services. The availability of high-speed internet connectivity will
further bolster the growth of the IT sector in the state, which is already experiencing consistent growth in software exports and the ITES, BPO, KPO, and electronics sectors.
In addition to the economic benefits, the availability of 5G in Odisha is also expected to bring about significant social and cultural changes. With faster internet speeds and improved connectivity, individuals and businesses will have access to a wider range of online resources and opportunities. This could include access to online education and training, the ability to work remotely, and the potential for the development of new industries and technologies.
However, the rollout of 5G in Odisha is not without its challenges. One concern is the potential impact on health, as there is still ongoing debate about the safety of 5G technology. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that while it is aware of these concerns, to date, after thorough evaluation of available evidence, the WHO has not seen any direct effects of 5G technology on health. Still, it is important for the government and telecom operators to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to address any potential health impacts.
Another challenge will be the need to upgrade infrastructure and equipment to support the 5G network. This will likely require significant investment from telecom operators and the government, as well as coordination with local authorities and communities.
Despite these challenges, the launch of 5G in Odisha is a major step forward for the state and its citizens. With the potential for faster internet speeds, improved connectivity, and economic growth, the rollout of 5G has the potential to bring about significant benefits for the state. As the rollout continues and 5G becomes more widely available, it will be important for the government, telecom operators, and the community to work together to ensure that the technology is used in a way that maximizes these benefits and addresses any challenges that may arise.