With the bidding for India’s first auction of 5G airwaves already in motion, the four companies, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and an Adani Group entity are putting in their all in it.
5G, short for the fifth-generation cellular technology, promises to exponentially raise the speed and data capacity of wireless networks. For data-hungry India, the 5G auctions will herald another telecom revolution. It goes beyond super-fast downloads and uploads, glitch-free multiplayer video games, live streaming, and real-time gaming. As per media reports Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, were expected to spend between Rs 62,000 – 80,000 crore collectively at the auction to buy predominantly 5G spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and millimetre bands. But on the first day, at the end of four rounds of bidding, the auction bid amount exceeded Rs 1.45 lakh crore for 5G spectrum sale from the Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea groups. Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw hopes to complete spectrum allocation by 15 August and 5G services are expected to start rolling out by September.
With the 5G network coming into the picture, it is bound to bring in possibilities beyond measure for the Indian ecosystem especially the esports and video gaming industry. It will accelerate the industry in multiple ways:
- No latency & lag
- Cloud gaming
- Growth in user base in tier 2 and tier 3 cities
- Unlocking AR & VR opportunity
- Video Game live Streaming
- High-end game downloads and updates in a jiffy
- Ultra-high speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G)
8bit Creatives founder and CEO Animesh Agarwal shared, “Internet penetration and accessibility are the backbones of esports and mobile gaming. With the advent of 5G technology, users will get better connectivity speed which will, in turn, allow them to access and play high-resolution games. The last thing a gamer ever wants is lag, 5G is expected to help us say goodbye to lagging issues, once and for all. The upcoming metaverse, and all virtual reality technology that again would completely elevate the gaming experience, would be facilitated in large parts by 5G. One of the reasons why gaming has become so popular in the last few years is the multiplayer and social experience that games are now able to provide, and 5G is expected to make that even smoother. To be honest, 5G will impact gaming in more ways than one.
Last year, telecom giant, Airtel, hosted India’s first-ever cloud gaming demo on a LIVE Airtel 5G test network, and the results were outstanding. S8UL gamers were among a few to experience it firsthand and I myself also attended the event with the team. Our pro gamers, Mortal aka Naman Mathur and 8bit Mamba aka Salman Ahmad tested cloud gaming on the Airtel 5G test network at Manesar. They used mid-segment smartphones connected to a 3500 MHz high capacity spectrum band, recording speeds of over 1 Gbps and a latency of 10 milliseconds. Both the elite gamers agreed that 5G technology would have an impact on the efficiency and experience of online multiplayer genre games such as battle royale and racing games.”
Qlan co-founder and CEO Sagar Nair shared, “At nearly 500 million, India is currently second in terms of smartphone users in the world after China. The launch of the 5G data network will further boost the mobile gaming sector in India. More Data speed = More data transfer. We have heard professional gamers talk about “ping” many times and how it affects their gameplay and how even a slight drop can cost them the game. 5G aims to eliminate the loss of data packets being sent every second. 5G will unlock new economic opportunities and societal benefits which is very good news for Qlan as surfing through the web and social media platforms become very smooth with the introduction of such speed in the market. Even if you have a brief look at 4G, the speeds that it can achieve are better than most people’s WiFi and most gamers prefer using a stable mobile data connection compared to choppy WiFi. 5G aims to provide users with a consistent and lightning-fast internet connection, on the tap of their fingers which also holds the potential to increase the number of gamers in India. 5G is designed to support a 100x increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency compared to that of 4G. In essence, the mention of 5G technology puts a smile on the face of every gamer out there!”
Penta Esports founder and CEO Anurag Khurana shared, “5G will have multifold benefits for the gaming industry. The increase in bandwidth will allow users to optimise their gaming experience online. As in gaming, even a delay or lag of just a few milliseconds can be the differentiator between win or loss, a smoother experience with 5G speed will surely help in keeping that in check. Esports will be a big beneficiary in the sector as well. Especially markets like India, which are mobile first, the 5G technology will benefit the athletes and the viewers as well to watch the matches which are live streamed. Apart from this, the roll out of 5G will also encourage more people to take up game streaming and content creation thanks to higher bandwidth.”
Reboot Game Studios co-founder Tanu Jain shared, “Gaming is already one of the fastest evolving industries in the country and the 5G roll-out plan will further accelerate this growth while opening up many avenues for gamers across Tier 2, 3 and 4 towns. With lower latency and lag, consumers across metro cities as well as smaller towns can stream and play high end games on their mobile devices via Cloud Gaming. Not only will it bring the mainstream and mobile gaming closer, but it will also create a level playing field and encourage gaming enthusiasts all across to participate in competitive games on a national as well as international level.”
Trinity Gaming India co-founder and COO Shivam Rao mentioned, “In recent years, we have witnessed the revolution and advancement in technology within the smartphone-producing sector which created a large impact on the users. News, diversion, and sports have been the core content in terms of usage. However, within the past number of years, particularly throughout the pandemic, the web and mobile gaming industry has seen tremendous growth in terms of content consumption and usefulness. The rationale is that smartphones have become reasonable and Internet service providers are providing economical data plans. Taking advantage of this, an additional number of customers are upgrading their phones and internet speed for enjoying the content of their interest with higher quality.
The inclusion of 5G technology can facilitate gamers to embrace cloud recreation and thus enable them to relish premium gaming experiences anytime, anyplace on their devices, without investing in expensive gaming hardware. This may bridge the gap between the mobile gaming and mainstream gaming markets permitting additional individuals to hitch on to each competitive gaming and community-sourced gaming with 5G enabled seamless internet service. A lot of youngsters are already taking up gaming as a full-time career coming from tier two and three cities in India. 5G enabled-mobile devices will further give it a strong push and we are looking forward to this increased interest.”
Esports Premier League director Vishwalok Nath commented, “5G is going to be a transformative step for the gaming industry across the globe. The highlight of this new generation of communication includes even faster download speeds, lower latency, hyper localization, increased network capacity, and better reliability. This leap in new features and innovation will enable game developers and storytellers to work on more immersive and engrossing gaming experiences. Faster downloads mean faster delivery of existing experiences with the ability to get more complex, large, and immersive worlds to the gamers. The industry has already spoken about cloud gaming and the impact of 5G on this technology. Though cloud gaming technology is still in its infancy, it still holds immense potential in democratizing gaming and bringing it to the masses. 5G will ensure a better cloud gaming experience for gamers with the help of Edge computing. It will also allow gamers without high-end gaming systems or hardware to play the latest AAA games.
Besides cloud gaming, 5G will also allow gamers to access newer experiences like AR and VR-based games right from their handheld devices. It is worth noting that it will be a while before 5G reaches the level of adoption we first saw with 4G but the wait will be worth it.”
Alpha Zegus founder and director Rohit Agarwal delved, “Data prices (per GB) in India are among the lowest in the world. That, combined with super affordable smartphones starting from Rs 5,000, has completely revolutionized the gaming industry. We are now living in an era where a Tier-3 kid can enjoy casual gaming in good settings without hiccups. Coming to 5G, we will see these casual gamers transform into streamers. Gamers from every part of India will be able to access cloud gaming platforms, thereby allowing them to play and enjoy 100s of high-quality games. This, in turn, will allow these gamers to create a niche of their own and start developing communities around them – all in all, creating more content creators and content consumers in the Indian gaming ecosystem. Lastly, brands will also be able to leverage more complex (and higher quality) advertising innovations, be it in the metaspace or otherwise, since data speeds and usage will be of even lesser concern to the audience.”
Esports Federation of India director and Asian Esports Federation (AESF) vice president Lokesh Suji shared, “5G is going to bring about a paradigm shift in the cloud gaming sector, the superfast speeds, massive bandwidth and low latency of 5G Ultra Wideband are going to make gaming more collaborative, competitive, affordable and accessible. The advent of 5G is set to be a complete game-changer in every way. With growing smartphone penetration and a vast youth population, 5G-backed cloud gaming could spread to remote areas and offer gamers the right ecosystem to compete and excel in the international arena.
Streaming and watching live games experience will be enhanced with this disruption in technology, video game updates are another big nightmare for our gamers, and these are not small 5-10 Mb updates, these are like 1 GB updates and it takes ample time to download. With 5G fast speed, the downloads will happen in a jiffy.”
PlayerzPot assistant vice president of technology Mihir Sanchala opined, “The introduction of 5G is something that was eagerly awaited by the gaming industry. The much-awaited auction of the telecom spectrum, no doubt will be the next major step in revolutionizing the mobile gaming industry. The explosive growth of gaming during the pandemic has resulted in a community of gamers, who have found a new outlet for much-needed connection as they spent time at home. Addressing this rising demand, the online gaming industry has been fast in adapting to the latest technologies.
Post the 5G auction, a large set of users will begin to experience the perks of a faster network and better connectivity along with high streaming quality. The 5G technology is expected to bring a revolution in the gaming industry, this means super-fast downloads and uploads, live streaming, glitch-free video games sessions, and real-time gaming. It is going to enhance the quality to offer an unmatched high quality end-user virtual experience to the gamers.
Mobile gaming is one of the booming markets and it is primarily centered on smartphones in India. With the Indigenous 5G project reaching its final stage, it is expected to create a revolution in the Indian telecom sector and gaming industry.”
Today is the second day of auction and it will start with the fifth round of bidding and hopefully India will soon enjoy 5G connectivity which will provide ultra-fast speeds, lag-free connection, and the ability for billions of linked devices for better gaming.