As India stands at the helm of adapting the fifth-generation network technology or 5G, a debate rages on in circles about the standards which should be adapted for the deployment of a 5G network. While some bodies and the government are in favour of the Indianised 5Gi standard, companies and their representative bodies like the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) are rooting for a more global approach to the matter. Now the pressure is not only coming from the companies but international trade bodies which are influential for India’s trade relations with other countries as these are also pushing for a 3GPP based global 5G standard in India.
5G Global Standards to be in Favour of India
As per an ET Telecom report, the deployment of a 5Gi standard in India might prove to be a setback in the areas of supply chain security, vendor diversification, and alternative network architectures such as Open RAN which would be dependent heavily on the global standards. It’s worth noting that a chunk of 5G deployment in India would be based on ORAN. Some of the bodies opposing 5Gi include the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce US-India Business Council (USIBC), UK India Business Council (UKIBC), and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). These bodies also said that the adoption of 5Gi would be detrimental to the development of the QUAD partnership.
Trade Bodies Count on Advantages of Globalised 5G Standard
The trade bodies said that India, the United States, Japan, and Australia would have to work together on the Quad Emerging Technology Working Group. For the unaware, Quad is an informal grouping of nations on a diplomatic level including the four countries of India, the United States, Japan, and Australia. The trade bodies further added that if 5Gi is adapted as a mandatory standard then it would discourage India from becoming an ICT manufacturing hub.
On the other hand, with the help of a global 3GPP 5G standard, the economies of scale could be leveraged to manufacture ICT equipment for a rapid and cost-effective rural network which is India’s urgent need. Not only that but the ICT manufacturing would be used to serve both the local and global markets. Reliance Jio and other telecom companies have also remarked that the use of 5Gi should be used in a non-mandatory manner.