Much recently, the Indian government had announced that the telcos could start their 5G trials using the airwaves in the 700 MHz spectrum band. Now, the two leading operators of the country, namely Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, are at opposite ends when it comes to the 5G standards that India should adopt.
According to a Business Standard report, Airtel believes that the homegrown 5G standards known as ‘5Gi’ will be very costly and push India out of the global ecosystem. At the same time, Reliance Jio is happy with the indigenous standards as long as they keep the network costs in check and promise quality.
Bharti Airtel Wants 5G Standards Developed By 3GPP
Bharti Airtel said that it would like India to adopt the 5G standards developed by the 3GPP. This would ensure that Indian 5G networks can push for innovation in the widely embraced ecosystem and would allow the operators to get lower prices on the equipment because of standardisation.
Reliance Jio also said that it would support 5Gi standards when it is economically feasible for the operators.
Because of the confusion related to the 5G standards, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to come up with a list of pros and cons of the 5Gi standard so that a proper assessment of the technology is possible.
The COAI will further need to assess whether all the operators want the 5Gi standards and also determine what the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) think about it.
Government’s Views on 5G Standards
As mentioned above, the Indian government recently allowed the telecom operators of the country to start with 5G trials. The government, however, has asked the telcos to go with the 5Gi standards for trials since it can support broadband connectivity in ultra-long-range-cell sites and rural areas of the country.
The 5Gi standards have been developed by the Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI). It is worth noting that TSDSI is yet to communicate to the regulator why the 5Gi standard is better in rural areas than the one developed by the 3GPP. On top of this, the 3GPP 5G standard has already proved that it can provide good coverage in the rural areas of the U.S.
At the same time, Reliance Jio has backed the standards developed by TSDSI by saying that the body has already demonstrated how the 5Gi standard is better than the 5G standard of 3GPP to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).