India to Emerge as Leader in 5G Standardization

Panelists highlighted the need for 5G on the back of a booming demand for data

The first day of the 2nd 5G India 2018 International Conference saw speakers agreeing that India had the potential to emerge as a leader in 5G standardization.

The panel discussion on ‘What will it take for India to emerge as one amongst the leaders in Standardization for 5G Technologies and Applications” was chaired by N. Sivasailam, IAS, Special Secretary, DoT, Ministry of Communications and suggested that a strong, diversified cross-industry ecosystem was crucial for the success of a 5G ecosystem.

Development in 5G networks
The discussion centered on the developments in the 5G networks, which have been taking place at a brisk pace, backed by research in several enabling technologies. The panelists included industry leaders who agreed that India can and should take the lead in standardizing this through a convergence of IT and telecom by bringing all the stakeholders including regulatory bodies, standardization bodies, industry associations and telecom operators on the same page.

Panelists highlighted the need for 5G on the back of a booming demand for data, fueled by multiple emerging applications in IoT, big data, AI (artificial intelligence) and HD/4K/3D media.

With users demanding connections anytime/anywhere and the worldwide monthly data traffic predicted to reach 50 petabytes in 2021 or over ten times the traffic today, it is only a 5G network which will be able to efficiently support the high throughput with low delay in communication and high reliability across a large number of heterogeneous connected devices.

Anantha Krishnan, CTO, TCS, pointed out that India is the only country without any constraints to expansion propelled by a huge smartphone using population and a vibrant communication and IT industry that has the potential to take 5G to an extraordinary scale. 5G has the potential to transform the way business is done with the coming together of IT and Tech.

Ms. Pamela Kumar, director general, TSDSI, commented on how India with its large base of technical talent can lead the drive for standardization at a global level.  

Pradeep Bhardwaj, senior strategy director and head, Industry Standards, Syniverse, said that 5G would create a new ecosystem of technologies that will revolutionize the telecom industry.

The panelists emphasized on how 5G would be an important part of India’s drive to create smart cities, smart agriculture and transform highways and transportation. They emphasized on the need for private-public partnerships and the support of the government and industry.

Railways, which are now demanding high-speed quality communications for control and signaling of trains, as well as high capacity communications for passengers will also be a driver for the development of 5G technology.

MTC to the fore
Klaus Pendl, first counselor – ICT, Delegation of the EU to India, spoke on how the significant improvement in data rates in 5G would address the field of Machine-type communications (MTC), and allow a scalable and efficient connectivity for a massive number of devices.

The session on Digital Transformation with 5G saw the release of white paper on VNO (Virtual Network Operator) in India. The panelists agreed that it was crucial to step up fiber penetration and make the E and V band spectrum available to ensure good deployment of 5G in the country. They emphasized on the need to have the spectrum assigned on a pan-India basis and at a reasonable price.

Panelists spoke on how the digital transformation would take place with 4G and 5G co-existing just at 3G and 4G are co-existing  at present with both infrastructure and devices in dual-mode. With low-latency operation one of the major advantages of 5G, it would give a major push to IoT applications in which devices need to communicate small amounts of data rapidly.

Smt. Shubha N. Bhambhani, principal GM, BSNL, spoke on digital infrastructure sharing, collaborative efforts, IoT exploration are some of the areas that would enhance digital transformation with 5G.'

Manoj Sinha, Minster of Communications, Government of India, inaugurated the 5G Use Showcase with demos by BSNL, Intel, Reliance Jio, IIT Mumbai and IIT Hyderabad. The Minister appreciated the demos, which showed how 5G could be used to communicate in crowded or remote places at high speed due to the reduced latency and increased data rates.

The BSNL and Nokia demonstration of smart vehicles and transport enabling sensors embedded in roads to communicate with each other and save time and costs. The demos also highlighted how 5G could transform critical services for government and utility companies.

The first day of the conference ended with a special session celebrating ‘World Telecom Day’ and the release of a white paper on ICT standardization and its importance in order for India to secure a leading edge in 5G, by Broadband India Forum (BIF) and the Consumer Unity and Trust Society International (CUTS).  

Delivering the celebratory address, Aruna Sundarajan, chairperson TC and secretary (T), DoT, said that standards would assume centrestage when 5G is rolled out across India.

She added: "As we get closer to understanding the technical challenges associated with the roll out of high speed, pervasive and reliable 5G networks, standards will assume centre stage. India was not centre stage when earlier networks such as 2G, 3G and 4G were rolled out globally. 5G however presents a great opportunity to us. The Indian communications market is amongst the largest in the World, and it is vital that we join hands with administrations, industry and academia across the world to shape future communication networks."

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