5G, a term so beautiful even Tim Cook went on stage and said it, along with other Apple employees who made the event that unveiled the company’s first 5G based portfolio sound like an advertisement for the new network technology.
While 5G is the next best thing, the tech market in India needs to stop obsessing on a feature that will not be arriving anytime soon, focusing its market reach and development on other key aspects of a device, be it hardware or software. Why, may you ask?
Some products in the market are appearing with the prospect of providing 5G to consumers, but the path that the company takes in doing so might not be one users would wish to trod on.
Why Is This Obsession Getting Out Of Hand?
Some of you, prior to reading this article, might bring up the rational argument of “the brand knows what is right, they must know something to trod down this path”, well, yes. However, consumers are buying 5G phones without being able to use them or showcase their capabilities, much like a Ferrari that a buyer may own but is not allowed to use unless on a specific race track, with the race track here being years down the road.
Enough with the automotive connections for now; coming back to the point, devices that offer 5G as of now feature the N78 bands, alongside some other bands. These are technically capable of providing access to 5G, but if we look at when 5G might launch, with the pace of technological advancement, these products will be long outdated by the time a proper rollout is done in India.
Alongside this, some companies are involved in the rat race of pricing, key among which are Realme and Redmi/Mi. They are usually trading blows to see who is the one to offer the cheapest 5G, with the promise of future security when it comes to usage.
As of the day of writing this article, Realme now has three devices around the Rs 20k and below segment, with the cheapest of them being priced at Rs 15k.
To get this technology to such a low rate, these companies often make major downgrades so as to keep costs low. In the case of the Realme 8 5G, the device offers a slightly downgraded display (in a way) to its 4G variant, a worse set of cameras with a lack of versatility, slower charging, and some other infractions, all for the promise of providing 5G, without any concrete evidence that a customer can test as of now.
Furthermore, certain brands might even skimp on key aspects such as charging and battery size ( a phenomenon yet to take place), and with 5G in other countries, we see a massive decrease in overall battery life. Factor in the time it will take for a proper rollout; by then, turning on 5G would mean instant drain for your smartphone.
When Can We Clearly See 5G Rollout in India?
Whilst Airtel had tested 5G in the city of Hyderabad, it did mention that spectrum sales and auctions were yet to take place, and it is quite some time till we can clearly see 5G up and running in India.
Even Jio, one of India’s top telecom providers, mentioned that a rollout might be possible in the latter half of 2021, but due to the second wave of Covid, we might see a delay.
Even if all goes according to plan, the company mentioned that it might take around 2 to 5 years for 5G to get a proper rollout in India, and by then, most of the devices being launched even today will be unusable if not properly outdated.
What Can Brands Do?
If we look at it from a brand’s perspective, the 5G branding might lead to sales, but rather than focus on 5G and bands that might be outdated by the time we see a proper rollout; the companies could try to focus their resources on better enhancing 4G capabilities and working on other aspects of a smartphone.
At the end of the day, however, it is the company that decides and whatever they will decide is the way the industry will move towards.
Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's a newbie to the Telecom industry. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.