New Delhi: The Indian telecom consumers will have to wait for some more time before they can lay their hands on the 5G technology since the telecom industry is still in the process of upgrading their technology and no telecom operator is currently willing to give any dates on the “real launch” of 5G services in India.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to three major telecom operators in India, Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel, to seek details about when consumers in India would be able to use their full-fledged 5G services and all these telecom operators chose not to answer these questions sent by this newspaper.
Reliance Jio told The Sunday Guardian that they have launched a Beta version of 5G services in select areas and that the full-fledged services for its consumers in select cities would be available soon. Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, did not reply to specific queries sent by this newspaper; rather directed to follow press releases by the operator.
Vodafone Idea further added that they would soon make announcements on their 5G service plans after Diwali. Airtel India chose not to reply to the queries sent by this newspaper. Sources within Reliance Jio told this correspondent that Jio would be making some announcement with regards to 5G services during Diwali or just soon after Diwali as a “good news” for all its consumers. However, industry sources say that Indian consumers will have to wait more before they can experience the real 5G services and its allied technologies since the industry is still in the process of upgrading its technology that is required to ensure smooth roll out of the services across multiple cities. “The telecom operators in India are already cash-strapped with high debts, mounting costs and limited resources. Telecom operators will definitely not splurge money across the country to upgrade its infrastructure that would be required to deliver the 5G services at its optimum speed and efficiency in a short span of time. All telecom operators will take their time and invest their money carefully and, therefore, services would roll out slowly,” an industry source told this newspaper.
Another industry source said that the pricing of 5G is something that everyone would be keenly looking out for since the industry would have to recover the money it spent on spectrum and also to upgrade its infrastructure. This newspaper also asked all the three major telecom operators–Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel–about the pricing that they are looking at for consumers to use their 5G services; however, all of them refused to comment on the same at the moment.
The 5G services was launched at the Indian Mobile Congress on 2 October by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and the government is keen on spreading the web of 5G services across the country at the earliest. Telecom ministry sources say that the government expects that major cities across the country would be covered through 5G services by the end of 2023, for which they have been working with the telecom operators for a smooth roll out of 5G services. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had also summoned a meeting with all telecom operators as well as mobile manufacturers in the country to ensure that smooth and quick roll out of software updates are provided to all existing 5G-enabled mobile devices for quick access to 5G services in the country. Earlier this month, Airtel had launched its 5G services in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi as “Airtel 5G plus services”, while Jio had launched its Beta version of 5G services under trial to select customers in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi. However, several consumers of Airtel in Delhi have complained that they are not being able to use the 5G services and whenever they get connected to the 5G services automatically, the internet goes down, while some Jio customers have also raised similar concerns over the patchy network while connecting to its 5G services.
5G services aim to revolutionise the digital world by providing ten times higher internet speed than existing 4G services with better spectrum efficiency. Most of the 5G ready mobile devices are ready with their software updates and the telecom companies have said that their existing SIM cards are already 5G ready and consumers would not have to run to the shop to get a hand on a 5G SIM card.
The launch of 5G services in India will place the country on the elite list of countries having such technology and these countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and China.