5G shift: Kerala ponders incentives for innovation, IT sector optimistic about new avenues | Business

Kochi: It’s been two months since 5G services were rolled out in Kerala. Although the state has yet to realize its full benefits, the IT sector is optimistic about the opportunities that the fifth-generation network is likely to bring in the near future.

The state government, meanwhile, is considering incentives for companies ready to jump on the 5G bandwagon to capitalize on the potential of the upcoming technology shift.

IT parks across the state are in the process of ‘5G-ready’, while the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has launched a process to identify companies working in sectors that believe higher bandwidth is imperative.

Proposed Incentives
The state government is considering offering incentives to potential players in the 5G space, including service providers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The IT department has sent a detailed proposal to the higher-level authorities. According to government sources, the proposal targets three categories. They are service providers, companies that will use 5G technology and those who are developing new technologies over 5G.

The incentives within each category can be financial or non-financial. “Support can come in the form of grants, subsidies, capital or revenue. We want more tech and software companies to develop more products.

We want Kerala to become a center for the development of new technologies based on 5G,” an official said. Currently, only a few major telecom companies are offering 5G. The state government also wants smaller companies to become providers of the technology.

The proposal is aimed at universities, industry and startups. The package proposes incentives only for Kerala-based companies. A final decision on the package is still pending.

With the 5G rollout, the state startup mission sees enormous opportunities for potential founders who can innovate in the areas that require faster data transmission. “Low-latency applications are one area that can benefit tremendously from 5G networks.

Advanced operations, traffic surveillance and people surveillance in sensitive facilities, etc. are areas that could benefit from 5G,” KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika told Onmanorama.

Low latency is the ability of a computer system or network to provide responses with minimal delay.

Infopark is waiting for an internal solution

The state info parks are preparing for the 5G conversion at the earliest. “Infopark is on the way to making its main node ‘5G-ready’. In Infopark Kochi Phase 1, the Jio 5G tower has been activated in the Athulya building, from which major companies such as EY and ThinkPalm operate.

In two months it will be activated in Thapasya and Vismaya buildings. However, these buildings will only receive uninterrupted power after the deployment of a 5G-enabled in-building solution (IBS), which is expected to be completed in three months.

Meanwhile, Infopark Kochi Phase 2 will soon be able to enjoy 5G services as the infrastructure is almost complete, Infoparks Kerala chief executive officer Susanth Kurunthil told Onmanorama.

Private player confident
Prominent private players in the IT industry are confident that the 5G rollout will create new business and employment opportunities.

“The 5G initiative enhances Kerala’s IT and telecom infrastructure and ability to handle advanced IoT projects, including the ability to acquire outsourced companies.

The accessibility of 5G networks will accelerate the pace of grass-roots digitization and open many doors for cross-industry partnerships – we can expect that the rollout of 5G services across Kerala will also create several new job opportunities in different industries,” Binu Jacob, CEO and managing director of Experion Technologies, said.

Jacob said his Technopark-based global IT solutions company plans to focus heavily on telemedicine, AR/VR, spatial computing and smart technology, leveraging the expanded opportunities 5G will bring.

Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan opened 5G services provided by Jio in Kerala city of Kochi and Guruvayur Temple compound in December.

The company then rolled out the services in Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram, Kottayam, Palakkad and Kannur as well. Jio said in a press release that it has invested over Rs 6,000 crore to deploy the 5G network in the state. Airtel has also rolled out 5G in major cities across the state.

The central government has already stated that 5G services will open up new economic opportunities for the country.

“The rollout of 5G services can bring new economic opportunities and help the country break down the traditional barriers to development, boost innovation by start-ups and commercial enterprises, and advance the vision of ‘Digital India’,” according to the Economic Survey 2022-23 tabled in Parliament last month.