The fifth-generation network technology is just around the corner for the Indian telecom industry. The 5G network is already live for a lot of subscribers in other parts of the world, but given the situation of the Indian telecom industry, it is quite understandable that the 5G network is going to be a little late for the consumers’ taste over here. But, as if the troubles for 5G were not aplenty before the deployment, there are troubles already siding with the telecom players when it comes to the rollout of services as well. For the unaware, the Indian telecom industry has the choice of either opting for a 3GPP standard which is a more globally accepted form or to go with the Indianised 5Gi standard.
5Gi Standard Indigenously Developed
The 5Gi standard, which has been making rounds in numerous news headlines, has been developed jointly by IIT Madras and IIT Hyderabad on the recommendation of the Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI). Post the development of this new standard, the TSDSI has also gone ahead and obtained approval for this new standard from the International Telecommunications Union. Now a lot rests on the shoulder of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India, as it has the reins to decide whether the telecom companies will have to follow the 5Gi or the more globally accepted 5G standard based on 3GPP levels.
If we are to throw our two cents into the debate, then despite the multiple advantages of the 5Gi standards, some of which are being touted as more coverage as compared to the 3GPP one, the cons will far outweigh the cons. There is already the debate among smartphone manufacturers about which bands they will have to support in the Indian smartphones for 5G standards. A lot of smartphone manufacturers have shown concern that if they have to support multiple bands, then it would drive the smartphone prices upwards.
5G Tech Already Going to Be Expensive
The same could happen for the telecom companies and subscribers as well. A more complicated 5Gi standard would mean that the telecom companies would have to configure their equipment in tune with the new standards, and likely the smartphones would have to come equipped with the supporting technology. This would not only entail rising prices in the deployment of the 5G technology, which is already slated to be expensive in the country. But, it would also mean that the subscribers would have to wait more for something that the other part of the world already has access to.
In such a situation, the DoT and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) should work in tandem to create a robust environment for more and more testing to use cases across verticals like healthcare, education, and enterprise development. As a senior Nokia executive pointed out a few weeks back, the real use of 5G is much ahead of simply reducing latency and increasing throughput. Similarly, coming up with new domestic standards which are not compatible with the global ones is simply innovating for the sake of innovating while keeping the industry’s development on the sidelines.