How far can India’s 5G technology go

On November 26, 2020, the official website of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland announced that after several years of research and evaluation by the Radiocommunication Bureau (ITU-R), the following three 5G air interface technologies (RITs) were finally approved. Officially included in the IMT-2020 global 5G standard, namely 3GPP 5G-SRIT and 3GPP 5G-RIT submitted by the 3GPP organization, and 5Gi submitted by Telecommunications Standards Development Society (TSDSI) of India.

Among them, the 5G-SRIT and 5G-RIT submitted by the 3GPP organization were confirmed by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (ITU-R) at the 35th meeting of the International Mobile Telecommunications Working Group (WP 5D) as early as July this year. ZTE, one of the members of 3GPP, also announced on its official website that “3GPP series standards have become the only 5G standards recognized by ITU”.

But no one expected that at the 36th meeting of the International Mobile Telecommunications Working Group (WP 5D) held in November, the 5Gi technical standard submitted by India’s TSDSI could be turned over and finally joined the ITU together with the 3GPP standard. -2020 Standard Recommendation, becoming one of the globally unified 5G technical standards.

You must know that there are actually 7 candidate proposals for the 5G technical standards that entered the ITU-R evaluation process at the beginning. In addition to the 5Gi submitted by India’s TSDSI, there are also NR+LTE SRIT and NR RIT submitted by the 3GPP organization, and NR RIT submitted by South Korea. , the NR+NB-IoT RIT submitted by China, the EUHT submitted by the Chinese company Nufront, and the DECT-2020NR submitted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), it can be said that each one is a bad visitor.

However, the final result after ITU-R evaluation is that China’s NR+NB-IoT RIT and South Korea’s NR RIT are integrated by 5G-SRIT and 5G-RIT organized by 3GPP, while India’s TSDSI has come back to life and defeated European ESTI and 5G-RIT. China’s Nufront wins alongside 3GPP, the largest standardization organization in the communications industry.

For India, which was previously unknown by international communication standards, this is definitely a historic breakthrough. The Indian mission to the United Nations in Geneva immediately announced on social media, “India’s wireless air interface technology recognized by ITU as one of the global 5G standards will contribute to the digital transformation of the world and India, which is the result of Prime Minister Modi Atmanirbhar Bharat ( A landmark victory for Self-Reliant India) initiative!”

1. What is the origin of TSDSI, which has created a breakthrough miracle in the history of Indian telecommunications?


The full name of TSDSI in India is the Telecommunications Standards Development Association of India, and its status is similar to that of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in Europe, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEESA) in the United States, and the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA) in China. As a telecommunications standards development organization recognized and supported by the Indian government, TSDSI’s members not only include operators, manufacturers, academia, and R&D institutions in the communication industry but also government representatives such as the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India are also involved in TSDSI’s technology Activity.

India TSDSI was established in 2014 when the Modi government came to power. Its purpose and purpose are to cooperate with the Modi government’s “Made in India” and “Digital India” strategies, formulate and promote India’s unique requirements in the field of communication technology, and formulate standardized solutions. Schemes meet these requirements and push them to become international standards. Therefore, India’s TSDSI actively participates in international telecommunications standardization activities, and as a member of ITU and 3GPP, it is committed to enhancing India’s voice and influence in international communication standards organizations.

Similar to the situation of “1G blank, 2G following” experienced by China’s communications industry, India has always been in the position of chasing the development of the global communications industry. Although India has more than 1.1 billion mobile phone users with its huge population base The total number ranks second in the world, but its communication equipment market is mainly dominated by first-mover European and American manufacturers such as Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, and later Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, with few competitive local companies participating.

Therefore, the Indian industry is very concerned and envious of the rise and development of China’s communications industry. In particular, China’s TD-SCDMA technology standard has broken through the monopoly of Europe and the United States. After the CDMA2000 was listed as an international 3G standard, China’s communication industry has achieved “3G breakthrough, 4G parallel operation, and 5G leadership”. At the same time, the successful experience of local companies Huawei and ZTE in the international market has also prompted the Indian industry to decide. Determined to play an important role in the development of global standards for 5G technology.

India’s Modi government established a high-level 5G forum in 2017 to evaluate and advance India’s 5G progress. One of the co-chairs of the forum, Ashutosh Sharma, Minister of Science and Technology of India, made it clear that India has missed 3G and 4G, so India must become a global synchronized participant in the application, design, and development of 5G technology. As one of the forum members, TSDSI has taken on the important task of representing India in participating in the discussion and formulation of global 5G standards.

TSDSI’s efforts to actively prepare for 5G standards have already started in the preparatory stage of the association. In November 2013, they organized a “Path to 5G” forum involving local and global operators, communication manufacturers, and academic and R&D institutions to discuss and determine India’s 5G needs, and after the establishment of the association in 2014, a special working group was set up to study “Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) technology” for India’s rural coverage needs.

With the support of India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), TSDSI soon made a breakthrough in ITU-R, and in November 2017, the WP5D working group accepted India’s LMLC technology as a rural area within the framework of IMT-2020 (5G) Mandatory test case for eMBB configuration. Dr. Abhay Karandikar, then-chairman of TSDSI, called LMLC technology a “key enabler for bridging the urban-rural digital divide” and said it would further promote LMLC technology as an Indian proposal for the IMT-2020 (5G) standard to be submitted to the International Telecommunication Union.

In June 2018, at the 30th meeting of ITU-R SG5 WP5D held in Cancun, Mexico, the LMLC technology submitted by India’s TSDSI was confirmed as a candidate standard for IMT-2020 (5G) wireless air interface technology. Dr. Abhay Karandikar, then Chairman of TSDSI, was delighted to announce: “TSDSI has carved its name in the history of Indian telecommunications by incorporating LMLC requirements into the global 5G standard, a testament to TSDSI’s growing influence in the global standards development ecosystem. TSDSI The active role played in the field of telecommunication standards will pave the way for more such contributions from India to global standards in the future.”

Since then, India’s TSDSI has optimized its own air interface technical standard at the 31st subsequent meeting of ITU-R SG5 WP5D, naming it 5Gi, and submitted a full set of technical specifications and self-assessment reports at the 32nd meeting, becoming One of the five candidate proposals for IMT-2020 wireless air interface technology.

2. However, just as China’s TD-SCDMA technology was suppressed when it broke through the ITU 3G international standards, India’s TSDSI 5Gi standard was also subject to huge international and domestic questions during the proposal submission and review process.


In early 2020, the Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), which represents the interests of global telecom equipment suppliers and chip makers giants, sent a letter to Anshu Prakash, India’s Minister of Telecommunications, saying that India’s homegrown 5G standard deviates from 3GPP’s globally harmonized norms, which will bring a series of challenges. , including destroying the global ecology of 5G, increasing the cost of equipment and services, delaying the progress of 5G research and development, and ultimately affecting the deployment plan of 5G in India.

India TSDSI, a member of 3GPP, also made a request in the 3GPP system, hoping to reserve some resource pool bits in the 3GPP specification, so that TSDSI can port the India-specific functions they developed to outside 3GPP, but it was not unexpectedly encountered. Rejected by 3GPP.

Meanwhile, domestic operators in India, through its industry body, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), have also written to the Ministry of Telecommunications, urging India to align with the rest of the world in adopting 3GPP’s globally unified 5G A network standard that leverages the advantages of the global 5G ecosystem to ensure affordable access to 5G equipment. Rajan Mathews, COAI’s director general, also publicly accused TSDSI of disrupting mature global standardization, certification, and regulatory processes by bypassing 3GPP and reporting proposals directly to ITU.

Just as the Chinese government supported TD-SCDMA to pass the ITU at a critical moment, the Indian Modi government firmly stood by TSDSI when TSDSI was attacked at home and abroad.

The Modi government put forward the “Digital India” initiative in July 2015, focusing on developing e-government, strengthening the construction of network infrastructure, and enabling the vast rural population of India to access the Internet. TSDSI’s LMLC technology aimed at bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas is not only in line with the spirit of the “Digital India” initiative but also in line with the Modi government’s move to promote the internationalization of India’s homegrown standards on the international stage. The world market” policy orientation, so the Ministry of Telecommunications of India has done a lot of work at the ITU level on behalf of the Indian government to support TSDSI.

Although the outside world is not aware of the specific activities of the Ministry of Telecommunications of India, it is believed that they must have been inspired by the success of China’s TD-SCDMA technology. Li Shihe, the former chief engineer of Datang Telecom Group and known as the “Father of TD” by the media, recalled that when the TD-SCDMA standard was in danger of being stifled during the proposal evaluation process, the relevant competent authorities of the Chinese government took the initiative to speak out, clearly stating that if China’s TD-SCDMA standard was in danger of being killed The standard is not adopted by ITU, and China has enough market space to support its own standard, and China will still adopt and operate TD-SCDMA. In the end, the firm support of the Chinese government changed the attitude of foreign communication giants. TD-SCDMA technology successfully passed the evaluation and became one of the three major international standards of 3G.

The support of the Indian government and the efforts of TSDSI have finally paid off. In an official announcement on November 26, ITU stated that the three 5Gi technologies submitted by 3GPP, 3GPP 5G-SRIT, 3GPP 5G-RIT, and TSDSI, “fully comply with the IMT-2020 vision and stringent performance requirements, and will be used for The three wireless air interface technologies for full commercial deployment of 5G have been globally validated.”

India’s TSDSI also said in its official press release: “5Gi is the first wireless air interface technology proposed in India, and TSDSI would like to thank its members, the Ministry of Telecommunications, the Government of India, and its partners for their efforts to help it gain ITU recognition over the past four years the support is given”.

Dr. Abhay Karandikar, a founding member of India’s TSDSI, also on social media @Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US FCC Chairman Pai, and others, proudly claimed: “India’s contribution has been recognized as a global communication standard, which is a historic achievement for us. Milestone, a key step towards technological autonomy in the telecommunications sector in the initiative of Prime Minister Modi Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India)!”

3. Successful selection into international standards is only the first step for India’s 5G technology. How far can it go next? The answer is far more than just a long way to go.


TSDSI’s 5Gi technology standard, which claims to integrate India-specific technology enhancements, enables greater coverage to meet the requirements of low-mobility large-cell (LMLC) scenarios, thereby addressing low-cost 5G in rural, remote, and sparsely populated areas network coverage problems.

However, in order to achieve this standard, TSDSI’s 5G wireless air interface technology requires the signal transmission radius of 5G base stations to be extended to 6 kilometers, which is inconsistent with the 3GPP wireless air interface technology’s standard for base station signal transmission range of 3 kilometers. In addition, the TSDSI standard also requires Boosting the power transfer level of 5G phones from the international standard of 23dBm to 26dBm, ensuring they can talk to cell towers deployed 12km apart in rural India.

These special requirements will inevitably lead to a conflict between the Indian TSDSI standard and the internationally accepted 3GPP standard, which has also launched a continuous debate in India on whether to adopt a “self-standard” to build a 5G network.

The positive side of the debate is TSDSI, which advocates the internationalization of Indian standards, while the negative side is the mobile communication operators and their industry body, the Association of Mobile Operators of India (COAI). The topic of the two sides is also similar to the industry discussion when my country pushed the TD-SCDMA standard.

From the interests of operators, the Association of Mobile Operators of India (COAI) listed four major crimes for TSDSI to set up another set of 5G independent standards: First, the adoption of independent standards will prolong the development cycle of chips, mobile phones, and equipment, which will lead to India 5G commercial delay; second, the adoption of independent standards will increase the development, testing, production, and implementation costs of 5G, resulting in high 5G construction and use costs in India; third, the adoption of independent standards will destroy interoperability with global 3GPP standards, resulting in India’s 5G cannot support international roaming; fourth, the use of independent standards to develop India-specific products may reduce sufficient competition and continuous innovation, resulting in the isolation of the Indian market from the global value chain. In short, the opposing side believes that TSDSI’s autonomous standards lack economies of scale and are not commercially viable.

TSDSI, which is responsible for promoting the internationalization of Indian standards, claims that its standards are only 3-5% changes or enhancements to the 3GPP specifications so that they have India-specific functions. It is done through software, and the cost is basically negligible. In addition, TSDSI believes that its 5G air interface technology has passed strict domestic and international evaluation processes, especially after being established as an international standard by ITU, it can be seamlessly connected with 3GPP standards and can be used without affecting global interoperability. meet the needs of 5G coverage in rural India.

As a counterattack, TSDSI counter-sued COAI behind a foreign communication giant

Leave a Comment