Accepted in other countries of the world, the 5G technology has not done anything extraordinary in India yet. 5Gi, has instead failed to find key stakeholders in India’s telecom industry.
According to a report, Indian telecom majors Bharti Airtel, Vi Vodafone Idea; and others like Ericsson, Nokia, MediaTek, Qualcomm are considering 5Gi as a “risky” technology. These companies have reportedly given a joint submission to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) where they have asked Telecommunications Engineering Centre (TEC), technical wing of DoT, to carry out theoretical and field level validation of performance gains of 5Gi before taking any call on making it mandatory for 5G deployment in India. This submission is enough to clarify the reasons on why 5Gi is not the ideal standard for 5G deployment in the country.
Following are the reasons why these companies are opposing 5Gi.
1. 5Gi has no rating
Asserting the reason behind calling 5Gi a “high risk” technology, companies mentioned that their consistent belief while evaluating the standard objectively within TSDSI has always met with total disapproval.
2. No clarity about gains from 5Gi
The companies’ in joint filing with the Department of Technology (DoT) stated that “Unfortunately, there are no clear proven gains from 5Gi that have been practically validated.”
3. All changes to the global 5G standard must be based on significant increases in costs and performance
The companies jointly believed that, the fundamental foundation for changing the global 3GPP standard must be based on significant cost, performance and network efficiency gains. According to them in the case of 5Gi, none has been proven yet. For the ones which are not initiated yet, 3GPP has laid down specifications for complete end-to-end cellular systems, including user equipment (or devices), radio access, core network and service framework for mobile telecommunications. 3GPP technologies have always been evolving since generations of commercial cellular / mobile systems. The 5G standard supports 3GPP.
4. 3GPP 5G radio and radio based on 5Gi are not interoperable
Another reason put forth by these companies is that 3GPP 5G radio and the 5Gi-based radio are not interoperable. To be precise, 3GPP-based handset would not work with a 5Gi-based infrastructure and vice versa.
5. International travelers cannot use roaming services in India
As the 3GPP based 5G smartphones are not interoperable with 5Gi in India, international travelers will not be able to use roaming services in India
6. Indians who travel abroad with 5Gi handsets cannot roam abroad
Contrary like foreigners, Indians who travel abroad with 5Gi-based smartphones will have to face glitches while using roaming services. Reason being the same, 5Gi-based smartphone not being interoperable with the 3GPP-based 5G infrastructure in other countries.
Smartphones with 3GPP-based specifications require specific hardware changes in order to work well with 5Gi-based specifications. This would lead to additional costs for smart phone companies selling their devices in India.
8. 5Gi lacks backward and forward compatibility
One of the drawback of 5Gi as stated by these companies is that the 5GI specification in its current form is unable to evolve without affecting backward compatibility with the products. As forward compatibility is a crucial part of any specification development process, the scope predicted is very limited of future releases and new features of 3GPP releases that can be added to 5Gi without compatibility with any product.