India 5G rollout is about to begin as early as next month. Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has already asked service providers to gear up for the 5G launch post the issuance of spectrum allocation letters. The Department of Telecom (DoT) issued spectrum assignment letters on the same day the successful bidders of radio waves made upfront payments. The DoT has already confirmed that 13 Indian cities will get the high-speed Internet services in the first phase. Here is an explainer about what happened and what you can expect in the coming days.
Firstly, the 5G services will be rolled out in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune. The DoT has already received payment of around Rs. 17,876 crore from telecom service providers (TSPs) — Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Adani Data Networks, and Vodafone Idea for the spectrum they won in a recent auction. The spectrum assignment letters have already been issued to the service providers. This means that the service providers can roll out the service once they are ready.
Reports suggest that the launch of 5G services will take place on September 29 and it will coincide with the opening ceremony of India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was previously reported to launch the service in India on August 15, but TSPs and their vendors needed time to be fully equipped so the plan apparently got postponed.
On August 15, Modi spoke on 5G and said that the service that will offer 10 times faster speeds and lag-free connectivity, will soon start in India. High-speed Internet will help people watch movies without buffering and download content quickly as 5G can provide up to 100 times faster speeds than 4G.
“Now we are stepping towards the era of 5G… won’t have to wait for long. We are taking optical fibre to every village. I have full knowledge that the dream of Digital India will pass through villages. I am happy that India’s 4 lakh common service centres are developing in villages. Country can boast of 4 lakh digital entrepreneurs getting ready in villages and people in villages becoming habitual of taking services from them,” Modi said.
Earlier this month, Telecom operator Bharti Airtel claimed that it will start rolling out 5G services and cover all towns and key rural areas of the country by March 2024. “We intend to launch 5G starting August and extend to a Pan India roll out very soon. By March 2024 we believe we will be able to cover every town and key rural areas as well with 5G. In fact, detailed network rollout plans for 5,000 towns in India are completely in place. This will be one of the biggest rollouts in our history,” Vittal said during the company’s earning call.
Meanwhile, Vi has also started informing its customers that it is now working on upgrading to 5G and the customers’ experience “will now be superior” and will have better coverage in Delhi-NCR. Reliance Industries’ Jio emerged as the biggest spender in the 5G spectrum auction, and it won airwaves worth $11 billion (roughly Rs. Rs. 87,800 crore) for offering the high-speed wireless network.