Opportunity for India to help set and develop global 5G standards is second to none – Broadband India Forum

5G Standardization & Welfare Maximization will enable India build strong 5G capabilities by creating products and services for the global telecommunications market

Mumbai, 17 May, 2018 Broadband India Forum (BIF), along with the Consumer Unity and Trust Society International (CUTS) today announced the release of a report on ICT standardization and its importance in order for India to secure a leading edge in 5G. The report was released by Smt. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary Telecom, Government of India at the 5G India 2018 International Conference taking place in Mumbai today.

The report takes account of the macro and micro economic effects of standardization, both in terms of the work conducted by Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) as well as when such efforts lead to the development of new & innovative products and services. It also presents a thorough overview of how standardization has shaped not only the global communications ecosystem but also the preferences of its modern users.

Releasing the Standardization report, Smt Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary Telecom, Government of India said, “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 center stage. India was not centerstage when earlier networks such as 2G, 3G and 4G were rolled out globally. 5G however presents a great opportunity to us and the standardisation report by BIF & CUTS sets the context and advocates for greater collaboration by India. 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.”

Mr. T.V. Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum said, “The discussion on standards and the critical role that they play in the larger economic context is crucial, and its relevance cannot be overestimated in the case of developing nations such as India. This assumes significance when contemplating the path for promotion of core research and development and the possible manner in which India can develop and leverage cutting-edge innovations at the global level. We are now at a stage where we can play an important role in shaping communications systems along with our global partners.”

He further added, “We are thankful to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India for the support provided to 5G India 2018. 5G is a key thrust area for DoT and it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that India remain at par with its global peers with regards to the adoption of 5G. DoT has also been actively involved in enabling the 5G demos that have been held by various companies and academic institutes.”

Considering that the global ICT ecosystem is at a crucial juncture and prestandard 5G trials have already started to kick-off, it is important for policymakers, market regulators and industry stakeholders to map a common way forward. Notably, establishing policy harmony and regulatory certainty across borders will go a long way in attracting investments for speedy development and uniform deployment of the 5G network.

India currently stands at a crucial juncture as the government is looking to successfully reap the immense potential benefits of an increasingly digitised economy, especially in light of the not so distant roll-out of the 5G technology. There are several opportunities and challenges for India in this regard. Apart from the imperative of creating a robust and reliable communications infrastructure, there is a massive opportunity for the country to leverage its untapped innovative capacities and contribute to the growing digital ecosystem.

This has also been reflected in the draft of the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, according to which one of the key missions is to propel India by enabling “next generation technologies and services through investment, Innovation and IPR generation”. The specific goals (to be achieved by 2022) under this mission include the “creation of globally recognized IPRs in India” and “the development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in the field of digital communication technologies”.

Key Points on 5G Standardization & Welfare Maximization

Standardisation bodies, such as the 3GPP and ITU have been hard at work over the last few years in an attempt to codify the requirements and eventual construct of an ideal 5G ecosystem. At the core of such exercises is the well-founded belief that appropriately designed standardisation strategies will significantly support and accelerate the development and implementation of 5G networks.

Momentum towards 5G is building as standards work accelerates and test and trialling activity ramps up. Governments, operators and vendors are striving to lead on 5G in order to achieve a competitive advantage and secure maximum benefits. Commercial roll-outs are expected across all 5G leader markets by 2020, with operators in the U.S. and South Korea targeting 2019 deployments.

The current trajectory of the global communications ecosystem indicates a shift towards greater convergence – At device, network and platform levels. Standards Developing Organisations (SDOs) are already working on the development of appropriate architectures that will enable and support these convergences.

One of the most widely recognised beneficiaries of 5G is the Internet of Things. The observed momentum towards achieving 5G enabled IoT necessitates the need to seriously consider interoperability between IoT solutions. Towards such a direction, all major standardisation bodies have established working groups dedicated to this goal. Most SDOs have only recently been formed and the overall specifications are still under development. Of the few specifications that have been published, most only address overall system requirements and architecture and do not delve into the specifics of detailed solutions.

For the development of an appropriate standard setting process, the report points to a number of key policy considerations for India, and by extension other nations at a similar stage of development. Broadband India Foundation strongly believes that India needs to and must take an active role in the design and development of global communications standards

Policies and regulatory approaches should support and encourage organisations and initiatives that adhere to the certain broad fundamental principles
Decisions through consensus
Transparent and voluntary participation
Membership open to all stakeholders affected by the standard
Ensure that access to standardised technology, including essential IPR is available on Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms
Allow formal setups as well as informal consortia
Advocacy efforts that generate awareness about standards, SEP exposure and the importance of investing in R&D
Treat standards and licencing of underlying essential-IP as efficiency improving, welfare enhancing, pro-innovation and pro-competition
Increase specialisation and provide incentives for firms to move up the Global Value Chain
Avoid unilateral standard setting initiatives and encourage participation in international SDOs

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