NEW DELHI: Indian consumers may have to wait anywhere between 2-4 years to fully enjoy certain 5G use cases like augmented reality, virtual reality streaming (AR and VR), and cloud gaming due to the lack of an ecosystem that includes affordable hardware, content, and apps, experts said. .
This is despite the fact that telecom operators like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have showcased some of these use cases based on the low latency and high throughput of 5G mobile networks and have expressed their optimistic outlook for 5G use cases in education, gaming and healthcare among other sectors.
Experts point out that wider uptake of such devices is likely to revolve around wider adoption of 5G services, expansion of smartphone brands in these segments, and local manufacturing.
“For the next two or three years at least, many of these devices will be for high-end users, and then we will gradually see other players flocking to the affordable segment. Right now, even if we had devices in the affordable segment, it wouldn’t make sense because Use cases and applications will still have a cost,” Faisal Koussa, senior analyst at Techarc told ETTelecom.
From a 5G perspective, use cases and devices will be based on low latency and high throughput. An AR/VR headset, according to Prachir Singh, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, would be a perfect example of this.
A lot of the use cases require mission-critical applications that could be in healthcare, manufacturing, or logistics that those sectors may be driving when 5G comes around. Devices and applications for these use cases in these segments will see a boost if seen from a future perspective,” Singh commented on the enterprise side. “We are [may] You have to wait 3-5 years for the adoption to take place in India.”
Jio and Airtel are rapidly expanding their 5G services in many cities across the states, and plan to cover the entire country with 5G coverage between 12-15 months.
Jio has demonstrated the benefits of 5G in healthcare with its Jio Community Clinic medical cluster, in education, cloud gaming, smart office, smart city, and AR/VR device called Jio Glass. On the other hand, Airtel, Apollo Hospitals, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have experimented with colonoscopies driven by 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).
Moreover, Jio has launched its cloud gaming platform – JioGamesCloud – in partnership with Paris, France-based Gamestream, and Japanese company Ubitus. By contrast, Airtel showcased cloud gaming while Vodafone Idea partnered with Paris-based CareGame to launch 5G mobile cloud gaming in the country despite not launching its own 5G mobile network.
“Right now, we don’t see the potential for cloud gaming to take advantage of the kind of gaming and experience it can give users. We’re still in the early days of cloud gaming. I think it should take off in the next couple of years and become something like an entertainment OTT app in the next couple of years,” Kawusa said. 3-5 coming in India”.
There is a possibility that carriers will bundle cloud gaming and AR/VR subscription with their 5G tariffs — a trend seen globally, as higher bandwidth use cases will increase data consumption which will help, said Ashwinder Sethi, principal analyst at Analysys Mason. Turn telecom companies into 5G monetization.
“In a heavily paid-for market like India where around 93% of users are prepaid subscribers, it will be important for telcos to go mass market and target both prepaid and postpaid subscribers. Also, early adopters are expected for cloud gaming, AR/VR are the youth category and are likely to fall into the prepaid category,” Sethi said.
Although data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData believes that India is still in the early stages of adopting AR/VR, the discussions are mostly theoretical.
“Developments and adoption in real life are still a few years away. This is partly due to the fact that 5G networks have not yet spread across the country. Even when 5G arrives, it will be limited,” said Rupantar Guha, principal analyst on the Thematic Intelligence team at GlobalData. On specific cities initially, so adoption will be limited.” He added, “My view is that enterprise adoption will rebound faster than consumer adoption.”
Sethi highlighted that AR/VR is emerging in most markets globally, with the exception of South Korea. “Thus it is difficult to predict the revenue contribution from a consumer perspective. If these services are aggregated well, they can become a substantial contributor to consumer revenue from telcos.”
AR/VR headsets are priced in India from 300 rupees, all the way over the 1-2 rupees range.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) recently revised its forecasts for AR and VR headsets for 2022 and beyond on the back of a challenging economic environment and rising prices. In a report, the research firm said global shipments of AR and VR headsets would decline 12.8% in 2022, dropping to 9.7 million units. Growth is expected to pick up in 2023 as shipments are expected to jump 31.5% year-over-year.
Startups and Manufacturing
Market experts believe that startups could consider homegrown manufacturing of augmented reality and virtual reality headsets and smart glasses, but will likely fall behind larger players such as smartphone brands once the latter begin to diversify into new hardware segments.
“None of the existing Indian brands, from smartphones or gadgets and peripherals, are so strong now that they can go into this kind of R&D and look at these products,” Kawusa said. “I expect them to be a follower in this game as well. [But] This is something some startups have to consider.”
According to him, this would be a good area to explore for startups, in view of the center’s push to AtmaNirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) in manufacturing. In recent years the government has launched a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for local manufacturing in various sectors, including mobile phones and communication equipment, with additional sales based on financial incentives achieved by local and international companies.
“While India is a very big consumer market, but sometimes, some large-scale manufacturers are looking at much larger volumes which gives them economies of scale. With PLI already in place and exporting kind of factors in terms of value. I think this is a good path for them. “I think we’re ready for all of these types of devices,” Kawusa said.
“I think we’ll have to wait maybe four to five years,” Singh commented on domestic manufacturing. “The intent is already there. It all comes down to the value proposition to the consumer…but right now, the use cases and pricing of the product just aren’t there for mass adoption.”
Experts also emphasized that 5G is about collaboration and that telecom operators will need to work closely with device makers, content providers and application developers to deliver a value proposition to consumers.