5G is still a distant dream in India, and this is where Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vi, and BSNL are expected to launch their 5G plans.
India has been patiently waiting for 5G and the network has been available in most, if not all, popular countries for a while now. Add to that the growing number of smartphone launches targeting 5G and the subsequent introduction of new bands to bring 5G and mmWave to sub-6GHz, making the country’s lack of 5G even longer than it actually is. … That said, Bharti Airtel recently announced that it has conducted commercial 5G trials, including in the city of Hyderabad.
During the said test, they were able to produce good results, despite being on an older spectrum and using a method to combine both 4G and 5G on a single tower. This was able to produce some results, even though they were far from what was advertised all over the world.
Whatever might be the result, this test did indicate that brands are gearing up for the launch of 5G and, when it does get clearance, the feature will be accessible to most, if not all without long waits.
This brings us to the question as to when major telecom providers such as Airtel, Vi, and Jio will announce their plans.
What Are the Bands Required for 5G?
The frequency bands that are required for 5G are unavailable in the country. For those unaware, Trai is hosting 700 MHz to 2,500 MHz auctions in March 2021, but it is inadequate and would affect the rollout of 5G, as per the operators. The telcos have recommended a sale of the spectrum of 3,300-3,600 MHz, which is the optimal spectrum for 5G.
Note, however, that the final decision on whether or not the spectrum is sold is up to the government, and carriers will have to stick to what the government has to say.
Reliance Jio 5G plans
Reliance Jio, widely known as the pioneer of the 5G revolution in India, company chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the time that Jio would lead the 5G revolution, launching it in the second half of 2021.
The company also said it could easily ditch its existing infrastructure, thanks in part to its converged network infrastructure.
It is also believed that the telco could acquire a significant chunk of the 700 MHz spectrum in the next auction to fulfill its 5G ambitions unless the government announces the auction for 3300-3600 MHz, which is popular for 5G worldwide. Jio 5G is expected to officially launch in October or November 2021.
Bharti Airtel 5G Plans
Bharti Airtel, the closest company to have showcased any kind of 5G, is yet to reveal its plans regarding the same. The company also believes that the next generation of mobile technology needs more time to be rolled out across the country.
That being said, Airtel is ready for 5G and its effective rollout, having recently conducted a commercial test in the city of Hyderabad. Furthermore, it has already deployed its MIMO (Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology in areas such as Bengaluru and Kolkata.
Vodafone Idea (Vi) 5G Plans
Vi, popularly known as Vodafone Idea, is also gearing up to roll out 5G in India as soon as the spectrum auction takes place. The company has already upgraded its infrastructure to a 5G-based architecture, as well as complementary technologies such as dynamic spectrum reframing.
In terms of testing, the carrier has offered testing with many vendors, including Huawei and Ericsson. However, V’s participation in the upcoming 5G auction will depend on her financial condition over the next two quarters.
BSNL 5G plans
BSNL remains unaware of its 5G plans and deployment methods. Two years ago, in 2019, the company announced that it would offer a 5G corridor in Delhi, but there hasn’t been an update yet.
The corridor, which the company says is showing potential use of optimal 5G data rates with the new technology, will also include multiple entrances from an internal test center that BSNL says it will host. At one point, BSNL also said it would go straight to 5G, completely ignoring 4G technology.