India is set to merge its local 5G standard, 5Gi, with 3GPP’s international 5G standard after the Department of Telecommunications technical arm, Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), decided against the mandatory commercial adoption of 5Gi.
Last week, the decision was taken after evaluating the industry’s concerns, such as interoperability issues and possible technology fragmentation.
“In a meeting last week, the engineering centre opposed the idea of new standards due to technology fragmentation and interoperability issues…the 5Gi and 3GPP 5G merger, as a part of a compromise arrangement, has been worked out which is likely to get a go-ahead from the international standards body,” the Economic Times reported.
Telecom Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI), responsible for Telecommunications standards development in the country, has been pushing its own version of 5G radio interface technology, 5Gi.
Indian telcos, gear and chipset vendors, along with handset companies and trade bodies, have opposed the incorporation of 5Gi as a national standard, citing compatibility issues with 3GPP’s global 5G standard, which has already been adopted globally for commercial live networks.
During the last all stakeholders’ meeting, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel had raised concerns about the local 5G standard, which they said must be harmonised with the 3GPP’s 5G standard to achieve scale and cost benefits.
Both telcos told the officials that the 5Gi should not be made mandatory and optional since it is not harmonised with global standards.
They also said that adopting 3GPP’s 5G standards as a national standard will further strengthen India’s status as a manufacturing hub for ICT products and services, the bodies said in their letter.
The report added that TEC and participating organisations such as TSDSI and their partners have now agreed to facilitate the merger between 5Gi and 3GPP-5G. It said that the newly merged Release 17 is expected to be accepted by 3GPP early this week.
TSDSI has worked together with Indian academia and industry stakeholders like Qualcomm to come up with the merger plan, which would now be submitted to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and India’s engineering centre. TSDSI
“This (5Gi and 3GPP-5G merger), is a milestone, and will be a key enabler to achieve high-speed, high quality connectivity for all as 5G gets rolled out in India and rest of the world,” a top government official was quoted as saying by the publication.
Notably, the DoT recently formed a 6G technology innovation group to create a roadmap for research and development (R&D) and an action plan for the technology.
Through its innovation group, the department is now inviting various stakeholders and partners to help find out technologies that are under development in India and can form a part of 6G so that the same can be pushed for R&D grants.
Related article: India to evaluate 3GPP and local 5G standards for commercial rollout