India stands on the cusp of 5G rollout as many telecom companies have already started the field trials of the fifth-generation network technology. However, some roadblocks still remain, as per the telecom companies, the Indian 5G standard being pushed by the Department of Telecommunications is another roadblock in this set. To discuss this, the telecom companies along with chipmakers and members from ICEA, TSDSI, CDoT met DoT officials to discuss the 5Gi standard. As per the telcos, the 5Gi standard should not be made mandatory for the companies and should be an optional standard. Also, they believe that making the 5Gi standard mandatory would increase the prices of smartphones.
Multiple Stakeholders Push for Uniform Standardisation
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and the body representing the major telcos of India, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) also said that there is no device ecosystem for 5Gi right now. They further added that the technology is not globally harmonised meaning that if DoT mandates it, there will be an increase in pricing and also a delay in the rollout of the services. Bharti Airtel raised the issue of the device ecosystem and said that phones in India are mandated to support all the bands auctioned in India including 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz in both standalone and non-standalone 5G modes. They must also support NSA Carrier Aggregation and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in FDD and TDD spectrum bands, along with the ability to transmit 26dBm.
Harmonisation With 3GPP Common Demand
The companies also remarked that the cheapest handset in India supporting 5G costs Rs 15,000 and right now it only supports the N78, the mid-band of 5G. SP Kochhar, Director General of COAI, said that harmonisation with 3GPP is imperative for a smooth rollout of 5G in India. He said it would be sad to see a situation where the industry is stuck, if 5Gi gets harmonised that will be a win-win situation. However, the alternative scenario would mean that the subscribers will have to bear the burden of increased costs.