India has to build a more favourable spectrum policy in the 5G era and develop a ten year strategy for Information Technology Standards, according to the 5G High Level Forum set to
articulate the Vision for 5G in India.
The final report of the 5G High Level Forum “Making India 5G Ready” was formally released on Friday. A 5G High Level Forum was set up by the Government in September 2017 to articulate the Vision for 5G in India and to recommend policy initiatives and action plans to realize this vision.
The Steering Committee with A J Paulraj, Professor, Stanford
University as the Chair has made the following recommendations:
1. Spectrum Policy
India’s spectrum allocation for public wireless services should be enhanced significantly on various frontiers to realize digital infrastructure as a core utility under Digital India. Also, the cost of spectrum relative to per capita GDP is high. It is important that India builds a more favourable spectrum policy in the 5G era. The Committee recommends fresh 5G spectrum be allocated as follows
a. For wireless access, licensed spectrum with an aggregate of 405 MHz + 137 MHz below 4 GHz and 5.25 GHz + 8.3 GHz below 45 GHz.
b. For backhaul, 14 GHz of unlicensed and 10 GHz of lightly licensed spectrum in the 57 to 86 GHz band.
c. For WiFi, opening additional bands of unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band for outdoor use,
The committee further supports three tiers in timing of spectrum release based on readiness of the various bands.
2. Education and Awareness Promotion Program
There is an opportunity and need for India to connect to the evolving global eco-system around 5G. Given the imperative for various economic verticals to use 5G technologies, it is important to promote awareness of 5G and advance the related skills development within the country. The Committee recommends three initiatives – Attract global 5G conference
events to India, set up national 5G events and create a comprehensive skills development program.
3.Applications and Use Case Labs
Since 5G will support many applications, deeper and faster deployment in India can greatly benefit from the setting up of Applications and Use Case Labs. These labs will provide multiple functions – interoperability testing for new applications, fostering innovation in 5G use cases, and promote
entrepreneurship to develop locally tailored solutions. The Committee recommends that the Applications and Use Case Labs be set up within different economic verticals in a phased manner.
4. Development of Application Layer Standards
The Applications Layer sits at the highest level in a technology standards protocol stack. While a vast number of Application Layer Standards have been developed over the years, with the advent of 5G and its rich applications potential, many fresh requirements will arise to address smart cities and smart homes to smart grids. Some of these applications can have an India specific characteristics.
India is in its initial years of engagement in the global standards eco-system. 5G offers a new opportunity to engage in the standards process.
The Committee recommends both short term and longer term initiatives to develop a ten year strategy for Information Technology Standards.
5. Participation in International Standards
Telecommunication systems depend on many complex standards andthere is a vast global standards development eco-system building such standards. Getting active in this eco-system will open up a new realm of opportunities for India. The Committee recommends short term initiatives like setting up ‘Standards Project Teams’ with funding enabling consistent participation to participate in standards activities. For the
longer term, the Committee recommends that an expert committee be constituted to recommend a ten year strategy for Information Technology Standards in India.
6. Technology Demonstration and Major Trials
Over 150 5G trials have been conducted around the world. 5G trials will be an important learning opportunity for our Telecom Service Providers (TSP), academia and industry. The Committee recommends that the major global Original Equipment Manufacturers be invited to conduct major 5G trials in India in collaboration with local partners.
The three priorities for India in 5G are
a. Deployment – rolling out early, efficient and pervasive 5G networks to maximize the value offered by this new technology
b. Technology – building India’s industrial and R&D capacity in the design and IP dimensions of 5G
c. Manufacturing – expanding the manufacturing base in 5G for both semiconductor fabrication as well as assembly & test plants.