Cloud gaming, high quality content will drive growth of 5G segment on consumer side: OnePlus India head

Agarwal said that it would be difficult to visualise that one killer application which would popularise 5G and real-world use cases will definitely evolve as we use 5G.

The second edition of the 5G India Leadership Summit saw participation from various stakeholders such as network equipment makers, telcos, GSMA, device makers, chip makers among others. At the concluding panel of the day-long event, the discussions moved towards the creation of a device ecosystem for driving 5G in India. The panel comprising Vikas Agarwal, general manager OnePlus India; Anuj Sidharth, deputy director of marketing MediaTek India and Sanjay Kimbahune, TCS Innovation Labs was moderated by Neil Shah from Counterpoint Research.

While 5G devices have started entering the consumer market, they are still far from becoming mainstream. OnePlus India's Agarwal feels that it will still take around five years for 5G to become abundant, which is still a much faster rate of adoption than 2G or 3G or 4G he feels. MediaTek had announced its 5G SoC back at Computex earlier this year. This chip which will be based on the 7 nm manufacturing process will house the MediaTek Helio M70G 5G modem meant for supporting the first wave of 5G mobile devices. Smartphones sporting the MediaTek 5G SoC will start shipping in devices from early next year.

"OnePlus already has a 5G ready device, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, which was launched with a 5G network in the UK. We could reach speeds of 1.4 Gbps in real-world tests. We are testing the 5G capabilities in India and are prepared for when India makes the leap into 5G," said Agarwal.

5G India Leadership Summit. Image: tech2

5G India Leadership Summit. From L to R: Vikas Agarwal, OnePlus India; Anuj Sidharth, MediaTek India, Neil Shah, Counterpoint Research and Sanjay Kimbahune, TCS. Image: tech2

On being asked which areas Agarwal felt would be driving 5G adoption among consumers, he said, "Cloud gaming will be the first use case which will drive the growth. Google has already released a product along that line called Stadia, and considering the rise of mobile games, 5G cloud gaming which offers near zero-latency will really take off. The second area is content consumption. By that, I mean high-quality content such as 4K UHD. With 5G speeds, you will be able to download entire seasons of your favourite shows in minutes."

Agarwal said that it would be difficult to visualise that one killer application which would popularise 5G and real-world use cases will definitely evolve as we use 5G.

On being asked about the cost differentials when moving from 4G to 5G phones, Agarwal said that it wouldn't be much. "You have to take into consideration three things: the cost of the phone, the cost of the data connection and the cost of the cloud network. I feel the difference in the phone cost shouldn't be that high. Our 5G variant of OnePlus 7 Pro is around $200 more than an equivalent 4G variant of OnePlus 7 Pro. 5G has to be priced as rationally as we can. There is no point in keeping the prices high, as the whole point is to enable 5G for as many people as possible. That is how the use cases will also evolve," said Agarwal pointing out that we were already a year or two behind 5G which is already being deployed in Japan and South Korea.

MediaTek's Sidharth said that the Helio M70 5G should be seen on phones in 2020 and the company plans to target the sub 6 GHz frequency band for faster adoption. This band is ideal for urban environments as well as in rural areas.

TCS Innovation Labs' Kimbahune had a radically different approach. According to him, use cases for 5G should also be thought of from the perspective of people living outside the cities.

"The perception around 5G has to change if we are to make it mainstream. Fields such as Precision Agriculture, checking water contamination and so on could get a huge boost with the promise of connectivity and speed of data analysis that 5G technology would bring to the table. It is important to leverage the internet of things (IoT) sensors in a meaningful way in a 5G ecosystem," said Kimbahune.

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