5G in India: Why is the 700Mhz Band Important to You? and for telecommunications


The first 5G auction in India that started on August 1 ended and was considered a success for the country. The auction raised over Rs 1.5 lakh crore and as expected, the highest bidder in the auction was Reliance Jio with a capital expenditure of Rs 88,078 crore. It was followed by Airtel, VI (Vodafone Idea), and Adani Enterprises.

What was interesting to see in this auction was that the 700 MHz band, which is a sub-GHz band, was the hottest topic of the auction. This is in stark contrast to what we saw in previous years, where the band was left unsold.

As you were expecting, Reliance Jio has now acquired this sub-GHz band by making the highest bid. And this may not be good news for other telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and VI. In fact, some analysts estimate that other telcos like Bharti Airtel may lose 2 to 3 per cent market share if they do not acquire this sub-GHz (700 MHz) band.

But why is the 700 MHz band so important and how could it change your daily life in the near future? let’s take a look.

What is the significance of the 700 MHz band and how will it benefit you?

The 700 MHz band is a sub-GHz band (originally under 1GHz) that Reliance Jio acquired along with the C-band. That said, only Jio has the 700MHz band for its 5G connectivity and no other telco currently has it.

And if others, say Airtel is planning to bid for it in the next auction, it may have to pay a lot. Other telecom operators also have sub-GHz bands in 800 MHz and 900 MHz, but these have been developed for 4G and 2G connectivity.

This puts Reliance in the monopoly to offer 5G in the sub-GHz band. Now, if we consider the benefits in the long run, a sub-GHz band is said to be more profitable for a company than a GHz band.

Unlike a GHz band, which provides faster Internet but has less coverage, a sub-GHz band (e.g. 700 MHz) will provide better coverage but the speeds will not be very fast.

This is beneficial for both the company and the users in a way, here’s how.

According to analysts, Reliance will benefit from having the sub-GHz band in its 5G network, as it can capture 2 to 3 per cent market share. This is mainly because a sub-GHz band will provide a better indoor signal. Despite the low coverage, Reliance Jio is likely to see an increase in market share thanks to the signal coverage that it will offer in the 700 MHz band in urban areas like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.

Also, in these metro cities, you can expect better and stable coverage of your home or other congested places.

Apart from this, one of the other benefits of the 700MHz band is that it will help Jio to offer 5G services even in rural areas, that too at an affordable cost. Unlike other bands that have faster 5G speeds but cover a limited area, the sub-GHz band, which in this case is 700 MHz, will offer better coverage and the faster speeds needed in rural areas.

Considering that in rural areas, people want stable internet, 5G, which is said to offer download speeds of up to 300 Mbps (according to Qualcomm), could suffice. Also, since Jio doesn’t have to come up with any other solution to offer 5G in this band, 5G services are likely to be cheaper. This will benefit the customers in rural areas.

When 5G services start this year, they will be 5G NSA (non-standalone), using existing 4G infrastructure. But 5G SA (Standalone), which will be based on new infrastructure for 5G services, will start soon.

Reliance Jio will be able to use 700 MHz of 5G spectrum to deliver 5G SA services in two to three years. This will probably happen quicker than others and provide market share to Jio. Reliance Jio acquired a total of 220 MHz 5G in the 700 MHz spectrum. It will be divided into all the major regions of India.

For consumers, we can expect better 5G SA services soon. So if you are a Jio user then there is good news for you.

To wrap things up, thanks to the 700MHz band, you can get better network coverage, better indoor 5G networks, and decent speeds at affordable rates. Talking about the rates, 5G will not be as expensive as it is being said. The prices are said to be similar to the existing 4G plans in India.

Reliance Jio and Airtel are said to launch 5G services in India early this year. In fact, Jio may be the first to offer 5G services as the rumors suggest an Independence Day release.

Post 5G in India: Why is the 700Mhz Band Important to You? And for Telecom first appeared on BGR India.

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