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China on India’s 5G exclusion

Context:

China expressed “concern and regret” at India’s move to not include Chinese telecommunication firms among the companies permitted to conduct trials for the use of 5G technology in May 2021.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology (IT & Computers, Innovations & Discoveries), GS-II: International Relations (India’s neighbors, Foreign Policies and Developments affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Trials for 5G technology
  2. 5G Technology and Spectrum
  3. What is 5Gi?
  4. 5G Club plan to counter China

Trials for 5G technology

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday gave permission to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to conduct trials for the use and application of 5G technology.
  • The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd. and MTNL.
  • These TSPs have tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.
  • Each TSP will have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings also in addition to urban settings so that the benefit of 5G technology proliferates across the country.
  • This formally leaves out Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in India.

5G Technology and Spectrum

  • 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It will take a much larger role than previous generations.
  • Trials and the first commercial services are already showing what great potential 5G networks have. But significant amounts of widely harmonised spectrum are a must for this potential to come true. 5G spectrum is needed across three ranges: Sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz.
  • Pioneering ultra-high speeds and the lowest latencies are dependent on access to spectrum in the latter range. Here, 26 GHz and 28 GHz have emerged as two of the most important 5G spectrum bands.
  • The result means national governments around the world now have the opportunity to consider 5G spectrum assignments across the identified mmWave spectrum. In doing so, they will help deliver long-lasting socio-economic benefits.

The other mobile network generations are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

  1. 1G delivered analog voice.
  2. 2G introduced digital voice (e.g., CDMA).
  3. 3G brought mobile data (e.g., CDMA2000).
  4. 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile Internet.

What is 5Gi?

  • The 5Gi technology has been developed by IIT Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) and IIT Hyderabad and submitted by Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI).
  • 5Gi technology was advocated by India, as it facilitates much larger reach of the 5G towers and radio networks.
  • 5Gi standard aims to bridge the rural-urban digital divide in 5G deployment on the back of enhanced coverage.

5G Club plan to counter China

  • India and Australia are sharing experiences on protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G networks, said a senior Australian High Commission official while talking of the huge increase in cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries, however, clarifying that Australia has no intention of banning Chinese apps like India has done.
  • India and Australia have a close and ongoing dialogue and exchange a range of experiences, including what is being done regarding critical infrastructure and aspects, including our 5G network, and how to police the dark web.
  • In August 2018, Australia had banned Chinese companies from offering 5G services, citing national security.
  • India banned 59 Chinese apps citing national security and later banned 47 more Chinese apps.
  • Britain said that it was pushing the U.S. to form a club of 10 nations that could develop its own 5G technology and reduce dependence on Huawei.
  • Proposed D10 club of democratic partners includes G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea and India.
  • It will aim to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.
  • It can be seen as a means to ensure that these new entrants belong to like-minded democratic regimes, thus alleviating any security concerns.
  • This move will also allow more 5G equipment and technology providers to come up.
  • It basically addresses the raised concerns regarding potential surveillance and breach of their national security by China using the state-run Huawei.

-Source: The Hindu

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December 2022
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