As India becomes part of an elite list of countries with 5G, Adarsh covers everything you need to know about the update

At the 6th Indian Mobile Congress held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of 5G Network services in the country. India joins an elite few nations like the US, Korea, UK, Japan, China, and some countries across Europe.

In his address, Modi said: “New India will not remain a mere consumer of the technology but will play an active role in the development implementation of that technology. With 5G, India is setting a global standard in telecom technology for the first time. India will play a big role in designing the future wireless technology and manufacturing related to it.”

It is expected to be a transformational force for Indian society, heralding new economic opportunities and societal benefits all across the country.

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What is 5G? What change will it bring?

PM Narendra Modi remotely drives a car in Sweden from Delhi during the 5G services launch in India on October 1 (Image Credit: PIB)

5G is the fifth generation of mobile technology which has been designed to deliver higher data speeds and reduced latency. Compared to the existing 4G network, the Internet speed on 5G networks is 20 times higher. It will support lag-free connectivity and will help billions of connected devices across the country to share data in real-time.

Long story short, it promises faster download speeds for smartphone users. And for companies, it means a network that can power big data applications like autonomous devices, robots, virtual reality, augmented reality and cloud-based healthcare services.

Apart from speeding things up and allowing faster streaming and downloads, 5G will also pave the way for a lot of safety measures. For instance, it will help in real-time monitoring of disasters and in minimizing the role of humans in dangerous industrial operations such as in deep mines and offshore activities.

Which Service Providers will have 5G?

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio will be the first ones to roll out 5G services in India. They will start with the metro cities, with Jio launching in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by Diwali. Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said its 5G network will be launched with immediate effect in Delhi, Varanasi, Nagpur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Siliguri. He added that the company plans to provide a 5G network across the country by March 2024.

Vodafone Idea is also expected to join in soon with promoter Kumar Mangalam Birla saying that a network upgrade is currently in the process of being installed.

Things to look for in a 5G Phone

Your phone must have a 5G chipset to support a 5G network. A 5G chipset will have a built-in module to detect 5G reception. Most of the recent chipsets are 5G enabled in the mid-range and flagship segments.

Along with the phone’s chipset, it is the 5G band support on a device that will determine how reliable your next-gen connection is. Many of the cheaper 5G phones on the market have just 1 or 2 5G bands. For a stable and reliable 5G connection, get yourself a phone with 8-12 5G bands.

Additionally, to get quick access to 5G networks and to ensure that you’re making the most of the 5G capabilities of your phone, you should look at devices from brands that have a good track record of timely updates. The updates will enable/unlock complete 5G support for you to use the service and also require hotfix updates to fix any bugs with 5G network reception.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Most recent mid-level and high-level android phones are 5G enabled. To check if your phone is 5G enabled, go to Settings and check for networks. If your phone is 5G compliant, it will show 5G listed under that segment.

Apple launched its first 5G iPhone in 2020 with the iPhone 12 series. This means that Apple iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 series are 5G-enabled. The third-generation iPhone SE launched earlier this year is 5G.

Samsung reportedly offers the cheapest 5G phone in the Indian market – the Galaxy M13. The Samsung Galaxy M13 supports the most number of 5G bands in this price segment.

What this means for the Future

Yezdi Nagporewalla, CEO of KPMG India, is very excited about 5G in India. Speaking to Business Today, he said: “We would estimate anywhere between 0.25 to 0.50 per cent of GDP coming from the roll out of 5G services in India. It will take India to next level. It’s the digital envelope that we are talking about without which no nation and economy can move to the next level.”

Talking about sectors that will benefit from 5G, he said, “I think there are six industries that will get maximum benefit. They are oil and gas, healthcare, logistics and transportation, consumer market (retail), and media and entertainment,” Nagporewalla added.

Telecom giant Ericsson estimates that more than 100 million users with 5G capable phones in India will upgrade to the faster 5G services in 2023. Ericsson’s data also indicates that as many as 36% of the users will likely make the switch to another mobile service provider for better 5G services.

There is also the increased scope of 5G based fixed wireless access (FWA). This will act as an alternative to wired home broadband services. FWA, as the name suggests, will bring 5G connectivity to homes via a terminal and create a home Wi-Fi network. Reliance Jio has already announced that – called JioAirFiber – such a product is in the works.

In the ensuing days and months, more updates and announcements are expected. A day after Modi launched 5G services, the government announced plans to set up 5G labs across the country. Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw said the plan is to set up 100 5G labs across the country. Vaishnaw also requested and invited the telecom industry to come together and convert at least 12 of these 100 labs into telecom incubators to train students and do experiments.

The cumulative economic impact of 5G on India is estimated to reach $450 billion by 2035. The future is here! Are you ready for it?

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Adarsh hates personal bios, Chelsea football club and Oxford commas. When he's not writing, he's busy playing FIFA on his PlayStation.

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