India has started work on formalizing the standards for the deployment of 5G networks and standards will be ready by 2018, said DP De, senior DDG, Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC).
TEC, the nodal agency of Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications, Government of India, is responsible for drawing up of standards, generic requirements, interface requirements, service requirements and specifications for telecom products, services and networks.
“5G will be an overarching umbrella of networks rather than a replacement technology and will usher in significant economic, political and environmental benefits,” said Adrian Scrase, chief technical officer, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute and head of 3GPP MCC, at the 5G India 2017 Conference in Delhi.
5G for India?
Operators and key technology companies, who participated at the event, did not give any indication on the first roll out of 5G networks in India. At present, only BSNL and Bharti Airtel announced 5G tie up with Nokia, the Finland based technology giant.
Globally, select number of telecom operators are targeting 2020 for their commercial roll out of 5G services targeting both retail and enterprise customers. Operators such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US are aiming for 5G-like services even before 2018.
TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is yet to start any discussion on spectrum allocation and related areas. US regulator FCC and UK regulator Ofcom have already firmed their 5G plans and some operators are taking lead there.
Rajan S Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), is clear about the 5G related challenges in India.
“It may be easy to rollout 5G in a country like Japan or South Korea but India is a fundamentally different market with diverse needs. There would be huge financial and structural challenges. We have to make India specific case for 5G.” Rajan S Mathews said.
The absence of three key members of the Indian telecom industry at the 5G event indicates that 5G will be another turbulent segment for India. At present, Indian telecom operators are expanding 4G at a time when global telecoms are readying for their 5G preparations.
Anil Kaushal, member, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Anupam Shrivastava, chairman & managing director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and N Sivasailam, additional secretary (T), DoT, Ministry of Communications, did not attend the 5G telecom event. Anil Kaushal and N Sivasailam have the opportunities to take decisions in order drive 5G across the country.
Drivers for 5G will be the anticipated increase in data consumption, increasing digitalized life and services, growth of smart cities and the need to have a strong network architecture.
“Connected devices, digitized lifestyle where almost every aspect of human life will be consumed digitally calls for a new paradigm shift in telecommunication eco-system,” said Shyam P Mardikar, CTO (Mobile Networks), Bharti Airtel.
“We have moved from the Voice phase to Video consumption and next phase will be Virtuality which will demand humungous data availability and networks have to evolve to keep pace. This will be a real challenge. Networks will have to become flat, ubiquitous and nearer to consumers in the coming days to cater to fast changing digitized life style,” Shyam Mardikar said.
Radhey Shyam Sarda, director, Wireless Solution Sales, Huawei, said 5G architecture is targeting different spectrum bands where each will play different roles and within the emerging scheme of things, C-band and Group 30/40 is emerging as the globally harmonized bands. Enhanced user experience, dynamic spectrum sharing, pairing of bands will be the mainstay of 5G architecture.
Jalaj Choudhri, EVP (Networks), Reliance Communications; Chandan Kumar, director – Marketing & Public Affairs, Huawei; Dharma Rajan, Lead NFV Solutions Architect, VMWare, USA also spoke on 5G opportunities for India.
Huawei, VMWare, Keysight Technologies, Juniper, RedHat, Rohde & Schwarz, RV Solutions and TrustinSoft showcased and presented their technologies at the 5G event.
The event marked the absence of major technology companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, Qualcomm and Intel in terms of their sponsorship and discussions.