In an Unprecedent Step, India Abandons 5Gi

In a surprise move, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided to abandon 5Gi, as the local standard is known. 

While this follows opposition from telecommunications companies worried about compatibility issues involving 3GPP’s 5G and India’s 5Gi, there should have been testing, equipment, manufacturing and software costs involved. 

In addition, the Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI) notified the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), which operates under the DoT, not to move forward with the adoption of 5Gi as a national 5G standard. 

What is 5Gi? It is a Made in India 5G standard created by having a joint collaboration between IIT Hyderabad and Madras (Chennai). The network standard got the approval from the International Communication Union (ITU), which does not issue approvals easily, having three standards getting clearance from ITU to date. 

Local reports claim that 5Gi will operate on the same bands and spectrum as the regular 5G network. Meanwhile, many say that 5Gi uses millimeter wave technology to provide high-speed internet connectivity. 

On that same note, India will have 500 million 5G users by 2027, accounting for 39 percent of all mobile subscribers, according to the 2021 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report published on Tuesday. 

The TSDSI, formerly seen as a supporter of the standard, said in a statement that it will continue to follow global 5G standards as local standards and “does not intend to further update 5Gi specifications”. 

The reports also noted that TEC, which had long been unhappy with the 5Gi concept and DoT, agreed to the merger of 5Gi with 3GPP’s global 5G standard – with specific milestones set for both 3GPP and TSDSI. 

3GPP said: “There are technical and logistical requirements for achieving the merger of the two branches.” It suggested that once it had received communication regarding the completion of the pertinent actions by TSDSI, any changes endorsed could become part of the specifications. 

This, apparently is no longer an issue, but a relief to several operators and vendors unhappy with the idea of an Indian 5G standard.