with the spectrum auctions set to begin from March onwards, telecom companies and smartphone makers are all set to offer this technology.
imagine this. you are traveling to the hills. it’s a 10-hour bus journey, and you plan on killing time watching films. but you forgot to download them. you could download them now but with your 4G phone, it will take a while. if you had 5G, it would be different, right?
in the next few months, that will be possible. after years of speculation, India is finally set to roll out the 5G technology. compared to the 1GB per second peak-speed of 4G LTE, the 5G technology is supposed to offer a speed of 20GB per second. the days of 4G will soon be forgone.
the 5G spectrum auctions are set to commence from March 2022 onwards and are expected to be completed by August. simultaneously, telecom companies such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea are conducting trials for the adoption of this technology.
at present, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in the final stages of its consultation with the telecommunication industry on the 5G rollout. a final report on the timelines for 2022 will be released in the next few weeks after which the auction process will begin.
while the spectrum will be allocated in due course, telecom companies have started the 5G trials across cities.
in November 2021, Airtel announced that it has been allotted test spectrum in multiple bands by the government’s Department of Telecommunications for the validation of 5G technology and use cases. and it has conducted India’s first 5G trial in the 700 MHz band in partnership with Nokia in the outskirts of Kolkata.
similarly, Reliance Jio is also gearing up to deploy 5G across 1,000 cities in the country. the company chairman revealed that it has completed 5G network coverage planning for the top 1,000 cities in the country, so far. data leaked from a speed test showed that Jio users would be able to download a two-hour movie in less than a minute.
the telecom players have time till May 2022 to conduct trials. while Airtel and Vodafone Idea have partnered with Nokia and Ericsson respectively for the trials, Jio is testing 5G using its own indigenously developed technologies.
having a 5G network is useless without a compatible device. that’s where the handset makers are stepping in. with the move to introduce a faster mobile network, smartphones are getting upgraded too.
brands such as Tecno, Vivo, Huawei, and Xiaomi have brought out 5G models to meet the rising demand.
the recently launched Tecno Pova 5G is a new budget smartphone launched for Rs 19,999. Vivo T1 5G is another 5G launch in India, with a starting price of Rs 15,990. Similarly, Poco is also launching its Poco M4 Pro 5G model on February 15. the same week will see OnePlus bringing out their Norde CE 5G phone.
larger companies such as Samsung are also sprucing up their portfolio by developing mid-range 5G phones for an India launch.
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is also working on building a 5G smartphone that could be launched later this year. taking advantage of the technical prowess of Jio, international smartphone manufacturers such as Hong Kong’s Infinix have partnered with the company to conduct trials and launch 5G phone models in India.
Apple, too, is gearing up to introduce its 5G models in India in the near future. this would include smartphones and iPads.
currently, 5G smartphone models are available for as low as Rs 13,000 and go up to Rs 38,000.
TRAI has released a detailed consultation paper on 5G auctions including the reserve price, bid mechanisms, and other charges.
as the country is gearing up for mega auctions, telecom companies are seeking heavy discounts of up to 90-95% in spectrum pricing. the companies have also sought changes to ensure that there is no upfront payment and a moratorium of 5-6 years. TRAI is yet to respond to these requests.
while these issues will be ironed out over the next few deliberations between the government and the industry, the 5G change is waiting to happen. not only will the new technology enable faster internet but will also help build smart cities and towns with connected healthcare, smarter agriculture processes, and also build digitized education systems.
the shift to a truly digital India will be accelerated once 5G-led technology penetrates into all products and services. and this change is here to stay.