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5G in India: Dawn of A New Era in the Telecom Industry is Here

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The internet has long become a vital part of our lives, let alone its imperatives across business verticals. The speed and efficiency at which technologies can operate are often linked to the design and specification of the organization’s IT network and the performance of the wireless network to which devices are connected. If the technology is not updated, it will take much time to perform even the most common tasks, and operations will become inefficient. This is where 5G networks open a new avenue of opportunities. With higher speed, lower latency, and greater capacity than 4G LTE networks, 5G is one of the fastest, most robust technologies the world has ever seen.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G in India at the 6th edition of the India Mobile Congress (IMC). At the event, the leading telecom operators of India, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, demonstrated the different use cases of 5G to Modi and even confirmed some important details regarding its rollout.

When will the Telecom Operators Rollout 5G in India?
Airtel is immediately rolling out 5G services in about eight cities, and it is planning to make it available for everyone by March 2024. Besides, Jio plans to offer 5G to every corner of India. And it will reach everyone by December 2023. Jio is already rolling out 5G in selected cities for limited users. The Jio 5G is available on an invitation basis, and the company will send it to random users. The telco will be offering up to 1 Gbps speed to users. Vodafone Idea hasn’t announced any launch date, but the telecom operator just revealed that it is preparing to roll out 5G soon. BSNL, the government-led telecom company, aims to offer 5G to 80-90 percent of people in India in about two years. According to the IT minister, BSNL will provide 5G services next year, starting August 15.

Which Cities will get 5G?
According to the Telecom minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, over 200 cities in India will get access to 5G in the coming six months. Initially, 5G will be available in limited regions across the country. At present, Airtel is offering 5G in Tier I cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Gurugram, Chennai, and a few others. Jio is planning to offer 5G services in limited areas around Diwali, with beta trials starting in four cities from October 5. Airtel and other telecom operators have also made it clear that pan-India coverage will take a lot more time, and it could be over a year before you can use 5G effectively across all of India.

SIM Card and Tower Dependency
5G network services will not need a new SIM card for both Airtel and Jio 5G. According to the company, it has started beta trials, and users will not need a new SIM for the Jio 5G to work. For Airtel, users using recent 4G SIM cards will also not need a new card to experience 5G in supported regions. Besides, Vodafone has not yet launched any 5G networks, so users need to wait for information about any new SIM requirements when the telecom player does.

5G services can create new-age businesses, generate additional revenue for enterprises and provide employment by deploying innovative use cases and technologies

According to reports, 5G users of both Airtel and Jio will have to be close to the cellular towers for the network to function at full capacity. The location of the towers is not mapped out clearly. However, the close proximity of a tower is necessary; if not, users might face inconsistent reception or, worse, no signal at all.

How to Get Updated to 5G?
Besides the cellular network provider, the 5G phone may need a small update to enable 5G networks on it, even though the hardware already supports it. At present, 5G smartphones support SA and NSA networks but may require an update to remove any software-based lock on the same. If your 5G phone is one such model, the availability of 5G services may depend on the smartphone brand offering said update. If the update is late, users may not be able to use 5G immediately.

What will be the Cost of 5G in India?
According to the government, 5G plans will be available at an affordable price, and the same was announced at the IMC event. According to the PM, initially, the cost of 1GB of data was about Rs. 300, but it has come down to about Rs. 10 per GB now. Roughly, a person in India consumes 14GB per month. This would have cost about Rs 4200 per month but costs Rs 125-150. It's the efforts of the government that led to this.

Airtel is reportedly offering 5G data in supported regions at the same price as its 4G plans. Jio 5G plans will be available at the lowest rates compared to any telecom company in the world. At present, people spend about Rs. 400-600 for unlimited benefits. So, there are chances that the 5G plan prices could fall in the same range.

Potentials of 5G
The path-breaking initiatives by the Government of India, such as Digital India, Start-up India, and Make in India, can promote access to mobile banking, online education, telemedicine, e-Ration, and Antyodaya families, among others. 5G services can create new-age businesses, generate additional revenue for enterprises and provide employment by deploying innovative use cases and technologies. The government aims to provide data speeds about 10 times faster than 4G and is seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence - by spring 2023 through 5G.

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