India to prompt Apple, Samsung to fast-track 5G phone software rollout


The Indian government will prompt Apple, Samsung and other mobile phone makers to prioritize software upgrades to support 5G in the country, amid concerns that many of their models are ready for the recently launched high-speed service. are not.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services with much fanfare on October 1, with major telecom operator Reliance Jio saying the service would be available in four cities and Bharti Airtel in eight. Both companies said the service would be expanded next year.

But according to three industry sources and Airtel’s website, Apple’s iPhone models, including the latest iPhone 14 and several flagship phones from Samsung, do not have the software compatible to support 5G in India.

Worried by this, top bureaucrats from India’s telecom and IT departments will on Wednesday chair a meeting for early adoption of 5G, with foreign companies Apple, Samsung, Vivo and Xiaomi as well as domestic telecom operators Reliance, Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Smartphone officials will be asked. appear according to a government document seen by Reuters.

The agenda includes negotiating “prioritization” and releasing software upgrades to support the high-speed network, said the notice for the closed-door meeting.

Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics, Vivo, Xiaomi Corp., as well as three domestic telecom operators did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The IT and Telecom departments of the government also did not respond.

India has said the launch of 5G in the world’s largest mobile market after China will provide consumers with high-speed internet, as well as socio-economic benefits in sectors such as agriculture and health.

In August, Jio, India’s largest mobile carrier with over 420 million subscribers, broke $11 billion in the airwaves in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction. Airtel spent over $5 billion, while Vodafone spent over $2 billion.

One of the industry sources said that while telcos and smartphone companies are in discussions with each other, it is taking time to address the compatibility issues between the 5G technology and phone software specific to telcos in India.

Airtel’s website on Tuesday showed “Apple yet to update software” for all Apple iPhones 12 to 14 models under its 5G compatible section. Even for Samsung, many models were not ready, Airtel said, while more than three dozen models from China’s Xiaomi and Vivo were shown to be ready for use with its 5G service.

“Apple is taking a lot of time. Airtel is concerned about this because many of their premium customers are on Apple devices,” said a second industry source with direct knowledge of the situation, who added Apple and Airtel are in talks .

A third source with direct knowledge of the issue said that Apple is in the process of testing and validating various 5G offerings from network providers in India.

The lack of 5G software upgrades has already troubled users.

On Sunday, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of SoftBank-backed Indian digital payments firm Paytm, tagged Airtel in a tweet, saying that he bought a Google Pixel 6a phone only to use 5G, but that it was opting the network as an option. I was not showing. Delhi. Later, in a tweet, he asked Google for a software upgrade.

In response, a Twitter user, Mudit Mathur, posted screenshots showing his exchange with the Google support team, in which he was told that the company is working with Indian telecom carriers to get their phones on “as soon as possible”. “Maybe” 5G functionality could be rolled out, targeting a December timeline.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

— Reuters

Apple to push Samsung to fast-track 5G phone software rollout first appeared on BGR India after India.

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