5G mobile broadband service has officially begun in India. Indian PM Narendra Modi launched the fifth-generation mobile network at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 event on October 1. With this, the country’s major telecom operators Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone will start rolling out the much-anticipated cellular network commercially across India.
At the moment, India’s mobile network operators (MNOs) are yet to announce the official plans and packages for 5G. At IMC 2022, it was announced that 5G would be live from October 1. Operators will now swiftly focus on rolling out the services immediately from various spots in cities in phases.
Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone are set to begin their fifth-generation mobile service a year after the trials began. The three telcos will now contest to lead India’s next generation of mobile broadband services. Eyebrows were raised when Adani Group, led by India’s richest business tycoon Gautam Adani entered the spectrum auction but it won’t be bidding for the mainstream mobile business yet with its 5G spectrum being used for private businesses. The conglomerate even had to clarify that it was not venturing into commercial telco services, at least for now.
Jio, India’s industry leader seeks to offer “the highest quality and most affordable rates”. Mukesh Ambani who leads Reliance Industries Ltd., the parent company of Reliance Jio, said that the telco will provide the most affordable 5G data plans unprecedented anywhere in the world. Part of its potential comes from the fact that it acquired a large 24,470 MHz spectrum across 5 bands spending Rs 88 thousand crores back in August. The company expects to offer 5G to all the districts in India by December 2023.
Jio’s 5G technology is ingeniously developed in India and that should make it affordable too. It is expected to inspire high-quality education and skills development for the people. Likewise, the potentially immense market of smartphones, AI, IoT, and blockchain could gain more fruits in the near future.
Earlier, Jio said that it could begin the 5G rollout on October 23-24. Users in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai will be the first to get early access later this month.
Similarly, Airtel will also be aiming at taking the lead in 5G. At the IMC event, the company chairman Sunil Mittal said that the service has launched in eight Indian cities in its first phase – Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Siliguri, and Ahmedabad. More areas will be getting access soon with pan-India availability promised by March 2024.
Airtel has 19,867 MHz frequencies to power its 5G broadband. The company successfully delivered 1 Gbps throughput in its trials.
On the other hand, Vodafone Idea (VI) has yet to make it clear regarding its rollout. At the event, the company stressed the improvement of its services for customers. The company has struck a partnership with OnePlus for its 5G services. The telco has 240 million subscribers with 50% coming from rural settlements.
Although a new technology, 5G costs are not expected to be significantly higher than the current 4G service. At the moment, the telcos are going to offer 5G services at the same 4G rates. Despite being a new technology, India wants to promote digital inclusion so convenient pricing is the only way to go.
The launch of 5G makes India the first in South Asia to begin revolutionary cellular technology. Besides mobile internet, it is likely to have a revolutionary impact on several sectors including education, health, and the manufacturing industry.
5G can expectedly bring up to 1 Gbps of download speed and offer minimal latency thus improving broadband internet potential significantly higher than its predecessor, 4G.
All eyes will be on Jio and Airtel on how they will price their data plans and performance compared to the promise.
5G trial is likely this year in Nepal. How do you see 5G being part of our daily life? Do you find it an excessive luxury or a need to stay up-to-date with technology? Do offer your insight in the comments below.