Volume 1, Issue 3

Volume 1, Issue 3

Date: May 03, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the importance of digital networks and service platforms like never before. Telecommunication networks that carry the internet to our homes, and the services that ride on those networks have become critical to economic activity and pandemic management. Most enterprises, educational institutions and healthcare providers have adopted video conferencing and digital meetings as the new normal. However, this has also attracted criminals and fraudsters for stealing credentials, disrupting services or demanding ransoms. Some nation states are said to have become active to obtain state secrets or research outcomes of coronavirus vaccines. Social media, meanwhile, has become the source of fake news and hate content which breeds disharmony in society.

Communication Technology driven contact tracing mobile application, Aarogya Setu, has become an effective tool in India’s fight against Covid-19.

The recent business tie-up between two technology giants, Reliance Jio and Facebook, is a notable development which can enhance capability development, although both companies need to assuage concerns regarding privacy of data and net neutrality. Meanwhile, Airtel has entered into $1 Billion deal with Nokia to expand its 4G Networks.

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has secured a major order from the Indian Army to manage, support and operate the military’s ultramodern communications network, called the Armed Forces Network (AFN).

The pandemic has also brought to the fore the benefits of Blockchain technologies, which is being explored by NITI Ayog.

 A task force of the Indian Ministry of Finance has reported that spectrum prices suggested by DOT are high and Telcos need to address slow data speed and lower penetration in rural areas.

Google and Apple have joined hands to deploy contact tracing technologies. Google is also planning an undersea cable ‘Blue Raman’ between India and Italy via Israel.

There have been instances of burning of 5G towers in European countries on the premise that 5G is the cause for the spread of the coronavirus. Both the WHO and the ITU have discounted such a linkage.

Samsung Electronics has pipped Huawei to become the top global 5G smartphone vendor in the first quarter of 2020. However, Huawei and ZTE have bagged 80% of 5G base station contracts in China covering 250,000 base stations in 28 regions.

On the technology front, China announced the trial of a state sponsored digital currency e-RMB in several cities. A sovereign digital currency provides a functional alternative to the dollar settlement system and blunts the impact of any sanctions or threats of exclusion both at a country and company level.