India is now a 5G-powered Nation. That said, the Network rollout and Digital Infrastructure deployments happen continuously as network maintenance and optimisation are never-ending in a telco business. In this analysis, let's look into the launch timeline and how exactly 5G launch announcements are happening.
We have three telcos to consider - Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. Since there is no update from Vodafone Idea regarding the 5G deployment or timelines involved, we don't have any details to compile and present. But as per the telco's update, the company intends to launch 5G. So, we are left with only two telcos in the 5G Race for now. Let's see what, when and how aspects of the 5G announcements made by Airtel and Jio so far.
Airtel 5G and Jio 5G Launch, Announcement Event Timeline
|Sl. No||Timeline||Telco||Announcement||City Count|
|1||1 October 2022||Airtel||Airtel announced the launch of 5G in 8 cities during IMC 2022.||8 Cities|
|2||4 October 2022||Jio||Jio Announced the launch of Jio True 5G. Jio 5G Welcome Offer launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Varanasi for Jio users, by invitation.||4 Cities|
|3||6 October 2022||Airtel||Airtel announced the launch of Airtel 5G Plus in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi.||8 Cities|
|4||22 October 2022||Jio||Jio announced True 5G in Nathdwara (5G, 5G Powered Wi-Fi), and Chennai (5G)||4 Cities + 2 Cities = 6 Cities|
|5||2 November 2022||Airtel||Airtel announced that it surpassed 1 million unique customers on its 5G Plus network. The company achieved this milestone in less than 30 days of its commercial launch, even as the network was being built.||8 Cities|
|6||3 November 2022||Airtel||Airtel announced Airtel 5G Plus launch at the new terminal T2 in Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru.|
|7||10 November 2022||Jio||Jio True 5G launched in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Invited Jio Welcome offers users to enjoy unlimited 5G Data. Jio claims Jio True 5G is already being experienced by Lakhs of users across six cities.||6 Cities + 2 Cities = 8 Cities|
|8||10 November 2022||Airtel||Airtel announced the launch of 5G Plus in Panipat. Airtel 5G Plus is now live in 9 cities. All of urban India is to be covered in 2023, making this one of the fastest roll-outs||8 Cities + 1 City = 9 Cities|
Airtel 5G and Jio 5G Launch Cities against Respective Circles Tabulated
|Sl. No||Telecom Circle||Airtel 5G||Jio 5G|
|4||Andhra Pradesh & Telangana||Hyderabad||Hyderabad|
Airtel 5G and Jio 5G Launch Cities Mapped
Differences Between Airtel 5G and Jio 5G Announcements
|Sl. No||Airtel 5G||Jio 5G|
|2||Openly Available.||I'm Interested. Express interest basis. Jio Welcome Offer.|
|3||Open 5G Launch. Any customer with a compatible handset can access 5G in locations launched.||Closed 5G launch. Only select invited users for the 5G Beta trials/launch.|
|4||No SIM change needed; existing 4G SIM is 5G enabled.||No SIM change needed; existing 4G SIM is 5G enabled.|
|5||Announced the number of Users accessed 5G post the launch.||Not sure how many users got the beta trial invite, but Jio claims Lakhs of users are experiencing it already.|
|6||Handset eco-system and handsets supporting 5G are being updated on real time basis.||No dedicated page for Supported 5G Handsets as of now.|
|7||Customers can enjoy 5G services on their existing data plans until roll-out is complete in locations where 5G is launched.||All Jio True 5G customers who are invited for the Jio Welcome Offer, can enjoy Unlimited 5G Data with speeds upto 1 Gbps.
This will work only if the Jio customer has a valid active base plan of Rs 239 or higher for prepaid and all postpaid users
Airtel 5G Handset Compatibility:
18 Smartphone brands support Airtel 5G Plus as of today. Approximately 179+ smartphones available in the market currently are Airtel 5G Plus compatible, and most of the devices already support Airtel 5G.
Jio 5G Handset Compatibility:
We could not find the 5G Handset compatibility page on the website at the time of this write-up.
Jio's Answer to handset compatibility from the website is as below:
Most 5G devices will be compatible with Jio 5G network. Some devices might require a software upgrade which will directly get pushed to your phone from the device brands. Please ensure you install the update to make your phone 5G ready. We are working closely with all mobile device brands to ensure these updates are made available at the earliest so that you don’t miss out on the Jio True 5G experience.
This handset compatibility information is gathered from multiple sources and software update changelog and may not be right, exhaustive and not an officially confirmed list. Hence, for reference purposes only.
OnePlus Nord, OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus 10T, OnePlus 10R, Nothing Phone 1. More smartphones supporting Jio 5G can be found here.
Advantages Claimed by Respective Telco:
|Sl. No||Airtel 5G||Jio 5G|
|1||Technology that has the widest acceptance in the world with the most developed ecosystem||Stand-alone 5G architecture|
|2||Delivers between 20 to 30 times higher speeds than 4G||The largest and best mix of 5G spectrum|
|3||Environment friendly solution with its special power reduction solution||Carrier Aggregation|
Airtel's 5G launch and announcements are open and commercial. All you need is a 5G Network launch in your area, a compatible handset, and an existing data plan to enjoy the 5G service. Customers can enjoy 5G services on their existing data plans until the roll-out is complete.
Jio's 5G launch, for now, is an Express interest, invite-only based, Unlimited non-commercial launch. Handset compatibility and 5G Data tariff are not yet known. Users can enjoy Unlimited 5G data till the roll-out is complete for free.
So far, in our experience, we have not come across any user who received a 5G Invite from Reliance Jio, and on social media, comments are filled with users waiting for the invite. It might be due to handset compatibility or whatsoever reasons. However, Jio claims lakhs of users are enjoying its 5G services across six cities as of November 10, 2022.
We expect more cities to get added to the roll-out list in the coming days. Keep reading TelecomTalk as we track and analyse each and every development regarding 5G in India.