India’s “5G” Technology (TSDSI-RIT) moves another Step Forward at ITU

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Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI)’s Radio Interface Technology Proposal addressing the special requirements of affordable connectivity in Rural areas was accepted by ITU-R WP5D in Dec 2019 as a candidate technology for IMT-2020 evaluation. This technology is critical to the rapid deployment of IMT-2020 in rural and remote, sparsely populated areas. This proposal has satisfied all the qualifying criteria for the IMT-2020 Technical performance requirements at ITU in the recently concluded meeting of ITU-R WP5D held in Geneva in February 2020.  TSDSI RIT technology has the potential to make a significant impact in various countries that are confronted with challenges of providing broadband wireless coverage in rural, sparsely populated and security-wise vulnerable areas. More countries have joined in supporting TSDSI’s standard as it addresses their regional needs from a 5G standpoint.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an UN body that is setting requirements for IMT 2020 (aka 5G), had earlier adopted the so-called Low-Mobility-Large-Cell (LMLC) use case as a mandatory 5G requirement in 2017. This requirement was adopted by ITU mainly as a result of sustained effort by Indian Government (DOT) and TSDSI to address the unique Indian rural broadband deployment scenario.  This test case addresses the problem of rural coverage by mandating large cell sizes in a rural terrain and scattered areas in developing as well as developed countries. Several countries supported this as they saw a similar need in their jurisdictions as well.

TSDSI has successfully introduced an indigenously developed 5G candidate standard, based on 3GPP Technology, at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2019 for IMT 2020 ratification. The TSDSI-RIT incorporates India specific technology enhancements that can enable longer coverage for meeting the LMLC requirements. The TSDSI-RIT, geared mainly to address the LMLC requirements, exploits a new transmit waveform that increases cell range developed by research institutions in India (IIT Hyderabad, CEWiT and IIT Madras) and supported by several Indian companies. It enables low cost rural coverage. It has additional features which enable higher spectrum efficiency and improved latency. TSDSI-RIT is a key enabler for 5G based rural broadband usage scenario in India and similarly placed geographies.

This enhancement will ensure nearly all of India’s villages can be covered from towers located at gram panchayats, whereas nearly a third of such villages would be out of coverage otherwise. The larger coverage by the proposed technology would mean that base stations established at the gram panchayat (using the optical connectivity provided by BharatNet) can cover all the neighbouring villages.

In the ITU-R WP5D (meeting #34) held in Geneva, various independent  groups have evaluated  prospective IMT-2020 technologies, one among them being the submitted TSDSI 5G technology. All the independent groups (including Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE India))  that  evaluated the TSDSI technology have ratified that the TSDSI technology meets the ITU requirements for being an IMT-2020 technology. Further, TCOE IEG has provided detailed evaluation results of the performance of the TSDSI technology. Passing this evaluation enables the TSDSI submission to move to the next stage of the process of consensus building and formal ratification. This technology will be formally ratified in the upcoming ITU meeting.    Informally, by passing the evaluation step, TSDSI technology is currently an IMT-2020 technology.

Adoption of TSDSI’s 5G standard in India by the government will enable India to leap-frog in the 5G space, with key innovations introduced by Indian entities accepted as part of global wireless standards for the first time. The nation stands to gain enormously both in achieving the required 5G penetration in rural and urban areas as well as in nurturing the nascent Indian R&D ecosystem to make global impact. TSDSI’s efforts are aligned with the national digital communication policy that promotes innovation, equipment design and manufacturing out of India for the world market. The TSDSI 5G standard also has the potential to make a significant impact in several countries with poor rural broadband wireless coverage. TSDSI remains committed to the development of globally harmonized 5G standards with substantial innovations to address hitherto neglected needs of countries such as India.  TSDSI-RIT is a step in the right direction so that our indigenous technologies for rural coverage and connectivity find their rightful place in the 5G eco-system that will be deployed in India and elsewhere.

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