In a matter of days, India will join the 5G club with the launch of commercial services featuring next-generation wireless technology. The auction of 5G spectrum concluded with record bids. Reliance Jio emerged as the top bidder, followed by Airtel and Vi. The higher allocation of 5G airwaves to India’s major telcos means higher coverage and faster speeds than 4G.
For coverage, the most ideal airwaves are in the low-band spectrum. For example, 700 MHz airwave, which is only bought by Reliance Jio. The 700 MHz airwaves never got a bidder before because of their high prices, but this time, Jio acquired them to have the upper hand in terms of 5G coverage. But 700 MHz airwaves may not provide the best speeds.
Airtel, on the other hand, is placing its bid in the C-band or mid-band, where sub-6GHz airwaves are available. These airwaves provide less coverage but higher speeds. Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal said the company has enough airwaves to deliver adequate 5G speeds, without Jio’s need to achieve the same number of airwaves.
But in the midst of this rivalry, consumers are most interested in three things: When will the 5G rollout happen? What will be the 5G speed? And which cities will get 5G first?
When will 5G rollout happen?
For the first question, there are some tentative timelines, but none of them are specific. After the successful completion of 5G spectrum auction, the government said that the deployment of 5G will take place in the next month i.e. early September. But given that 5G spectrum is owned by private players and not government-run, it makes sense to hear what telcos are saying.
Airtel became the first company to confirm its 5G rollout plans. It announced that Airtel 5G services will start in August, while the pan-India rollout is likely to be completed by 2024. Jio, on the other hand, has not made any announcement regarding the 5G rollout time frame. But a report states that Jio may announce a date on August 15, India’s Independence Day. It is also possible that Airtel also announces to beat Jio on the same day.
What will be the 5G speed?
5G is dramatically faster than 4G. South Korea and America have the fastest 5G speed, but there are some doubts about 5G speed in India. In its demo in March, Airtel 5G provided high speeds of over 1Gbps and latency of 20ms. Jio, too, demonstrated 5G speeds of over 1Gbps in its tests, but a speed test result from January showed a maximum download speed of 420Mbps and an upload speed of 412Mbps.
Of course, these speeds were achieved in a controlled environment and with limited users. Both Airtel 5G and Jio 5G are expected to have lower real-world speeds. However, there has been no official comment from either of the companies.
Which cities will get 5G first?
While Jio and Airtel have not individually disclosed the cities in which 5G services will be launched first, the Department of Telecommunications had earlier identified 13 cities. These include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune.
Jio 5G vs Airtel 5G post: Launch date, top speed and cities for first rollout first appeared on BGR India.