Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, two of the leading telecom operators in India, are soon going to launch 5G network services for consumers in select parts of the nation. Initially, the telcos will focus on the metro cities and then expand to other parts within a year or two. Both operators have the necessary spectrum and have said that their networks are 5G ready.
Reliance Jio has spectrum in the 700 MHz band, something that none of the other telcos in India currently have. This will help the company majorly in rolling out 5G SA (standalone) networks as it would enable Jio to deliver better indoor coverage to customers. Airtel said that despite going with 5G NSA (non-standalone) networks, it would still be able to deliver good coverage and network experience of 5G to its consumers.
Jio's 5G SA Could be Useless for Some 5G Phone Users in India
One thing worth noting here is that not every 5G smartphone in India would support 5G SA. But every 5G phone would definitely support 5G NSA. The increase in 5G smartphone shipments almost every passing quarter is a positive sign for the operators. Jio and Airtel both have money to expand fast with 5G network services across India. Vodafone Idea (Vi), the other private operator, which is rarely seen as an equal competitor for Jio and Airtel, will likely stay behind because of capital and funding issues.
Airtel has said that its customers won't have to change their 4G SIM cards to get 5G services. Airtel users will just have to switch on the 5G settings of their smartphone and purchase a 5G plan to get the 5G experience. However, for Jio, the users could be asked to upgrade to a new SIM because of the 5G SA proposition. That shouldn't be too big a problem for the users if Jio offers the SIM as a free product under the introductory offer.
Jio and Airtel 5G Tariffs
Reliance Jio and Airtel's 5G mobile tariffs is something that the entire industry and the consumer market are waiting for. It would be worth taking a look at how the telcos bundle additional benefits with the 5G plans. The pricing is expected to be at a slightly premium rate than 4G. Airtel CTO, Randeep Sekhon, had told TelecomTalk during a Twitter Spaces interaction that the 5G tariffs wouldn't be too costly compared to what users get the 4G plans for.
None of the telcos has hinted so far where their 5G tariffs would start at. This is something that we will only discover in October. Frankly, 5G network services don't have too many relevant use cases for consumers right now to entire a large section of the society to quickly upgrade to a 5G phone and pay more to get 5G services.
Where Will Jio and Airtel Launch 5G Services?
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), had announced that Jio would launch 5G services around the festive season of Diwali in four cities - Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Bharti Airtel didn't name the exact cities. But Airtel is also expected to target the Mumbai and Delhi market in the initial stage, at least.