Your IPL final experience could have been a whole lot different with 5G, but… – The Week

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With this toolkit, the way you watch this weekend’s IPL final could have been a whole lot different. Imagine this: you are sitting at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium high up in the galleries, amidst tens of thousands of roaring fans. Way down below on the pitch, your favourite player is about to deliver a square cut straight to the boundary. You see it, you understand what has happened — and then, you whip out your phone to watch the same at an angle much closer, something impossible from where you are seated.

Or from another angle. Or in slow-motion. Or, you switch to the action of the bowler (or the cheerleaders)! Whatever your kink, delivering it in ultra high-definition to you as a premium service, be it on the stands or in your living room, is one of the new value-adds that 5G could offer, through the differentiated connectivity and network slicing feature of 5G.

And ‘could’ because it is yet to be a reality. At least not in time for the upcoming IPL final, because India’s Net Neutrality rules forbid such differentiated speeds and premium servicing for internet users.

Still, Ericsson, one of the world’s leading information and communication technology companies is betting big on this. It had launched at the Mobile World Congress last year a toolkit that includes software capabilities across Massive MIMO, RAN slicing, time-critical communication and 5G core. It is aimed at anyone from mobile operators to OTT channels who could use this to offer premium differentiated services like the IPL scenario described above.

“The advent of 5G is opening up new opportunities,” said Ericsson India managing director Nitin Bansal. “Differentiated connectivity not only delivers a high-performing on-demand network connectivity, (it) will represent a significant shift in the evolution of the mobile broadband business in India.”

While regulation will prevent such premium services in India in the near future, it has already been tried out in other countries. At the recent F1 Grand Prix in Singapore, SingTel collaborated with Ericsson to offer network slicing to the crowds who had gathered to watch the world’s fastest racers battle it out on the streets of the city-state. The package offering, combined with 5G, meant that any user sitting at one point could get on his mobile device live, low-latency access to action on another corner of the race track which may not be visible to him. 

The technology was showcased at Ericsson’s ‘Imagine Live’ roadshow in Gurugram on Wednesday, part of its efforts to raise popularity of 5G value-added services in the country, even as telecom operators struggle to find out a way out to monetise the premium feature amidst complaints about call drops and reality of the quality of 5G coverage not living up to the tall claims and expectations.

“5G is about bringing in capability and efficiency, “ said Bansal, adding, “We will continue to invest in India and continue doing what is expected of us….Looking ahead, the emergence of programmable networks and the exposure of network capabilities to application developers presents another exciting development.”

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