Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched 5G internet services at the India Mobile Congress held in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. The technology is expected to provide high speed internet and a lower latency in transfer of data.

“It will increase energy efficiency, spectrum efficiency and network efficiency,” the prime minister’s office said in a release.

Modi said that the 5G services is the beginning of a new era. “At the time of 2G, 3G and 4G, India was dependent on other countries for technology,” he said. “With 5G, India has scripted a new history. For the first time, India is setting global standards in telecom technology.”

The prime minister said that there was a time when a “handful of elites” doubted the capacity of poor citizens to adapt to new technologies. “They thought that the poor would not even understand what ‘digital’ means.” he said. “But I also believed in the intelligence, wisdom and curiosity of the common people.”

Earlier on Saturday, Modi launched the sixth India Mobile Congress and visited stalls set up by telecom operators to get a first-hand experience of the functioning of 5G networks.

Speaking at the event, Bharti Airtel Chairperson Sunil Mittal said that his company will start 5G services in eight cities on Saturday, and will cover the entire country by 2024, PTI reported. Meanwhile, Reliance Industries Chairperson Mukesh Ambani said that Jio will launch 5G telecom services across the country by December 2023.

“India is all set to be a leader in 5G technology, starting today,” Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

Commenting on the launch of 5G services, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the development will have a lasting impact, ANI reported. “5G will bring a change to each person’s life be it small businessmen, farmers, doctors, or students,” he said. “It will also drastically affect our startup ecosystem.”

The Cellular Operators Association of India said that it was excited about the 5G launch. “We are excited and geared up to provide the high-speed services that are poised to transform consumer experience,” it said.

SP Kochchar, the director general of the organisation, said that the 5G services will lead to creation of more opportunities for citizens and businesses. “With a goal of reaching a $5 trillion economy by 2025, 5G is the road map for the socio-economic development and future prosperity of our nation,” he said.

Reliance Industries chairperson Mukesh Ambani congratulated the country on the launch, ANI reported. “I am really grateful to the Prime Minister for inspiring all of us and giving us this digital vision,” he said.