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Telecom standardization-scripting the India story

India is the second-largest telecommunications market in terms of telephone user base and internet users. With a rural tele density of 57.6 percent and internet penetration of 27.6 percent, the market is still growing. Despite the huge diversity in population base (rural-urban), culture, terrain, climatic conditions, and constrained availability of power, the country boasts one of the lowest tariffs in the world.

As India is embracing and deploying new ICT technologies to meet the needs of the socioeconomic development initiatives it is becoming obvious that force-fitting solutions and technologies, developed for North America, Europe, and other developed economies, do not meet Indian requirements. The reasons for this are:

  • Population density of India is 10 times that of North America + Europe; the carbon footprint/per person in India is around one-fifth that of USA; and per capita GDP one-eighth that of North America.
  • The cultural and language diversity, last mile diversity and minimal investment to legacy installations are uniquely India specific opportunities / challenges

India market requires Research, Innovation and Standards that are developed with an India appropriate mindset. Hence, the need for a different paradigm to enable this emerging economy.

Genesis of TSDSI. Recognizing the role of standards in propelling organizations up the value chain, the government, in the National Telecom Policy 2012, acknowledged the need for a National Telecom Standards Development Organization that would contribute to next-generation telecom standards, and drive the eco-system of IP creation in India. Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI) was formed in 2014 with a mandate to develop and promote incorporation of India-specific requirements and solutions thereof in global forums, and help create local design-led manufacturing expertise in the country. TSDSI, in the relatively short span of six years of its existence, is already playing a significant role in the domestic and global telecom standards arena.

TSDSI drives India’s 5G standardization initiative. India is staking a claim to development of global 5G standards, enabled by TSDSI. TSDSI initiated the 5G India 2020 High Level Forum and its members actively contributed to the drafting of the Making India 5G Ready report. The ITU adopted the Low-Mobility-Large-Cell (LMLC) use case proposed by TSDSI as a mandatory 5G requirement in 2017. This addresses the problem of rural coverage by mandating large cell sizes in rural terrains, scattered and/or sparsely populated or security-wise vulnerable areas in various geographies. Subsequently, TSDSI successfully introduced an indigenously developed 5G candidate standard (radio-interface technology) to meet the LMLC requirements for IMT 2020 ratification, a seamless upgrade of global 5G standards. This proposal has satisfied all the qualifying criteria for the IMT-2020 technical performance requirements at ITU. This is a great milestone in nurturing the nascent Indian R&D ecosystem to make global impact.

In line with its philosophy of promoting globally harmonized standards, TSDSI has transposed 3GPP specifications for IMT Advanced and IMT2000 technologies and oneM2M specifications Rel 2. TSDSI has also developed its first standard, on CPRI-Fronthaul Transport.

Futuristic technology focus. TSDSI  members are currently working on cloud interoperability, multi SIM support, technologies beyond 5G, dynamic spectrum access, drone communication services, rural broadband architecture, smart IoT applications etc.

TSDSI has defined its vision in order to leverage standardization as an enabler for NDCP 2018. It has adopted a three-dimensional approach, namely: engaging with vertical application domains, participation of Indian start-ups/tech-preneurs in global standards development activities and serving as a collaboration platform for developing countries for their telecommunications-related standardization needs.

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