Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is reportedly planning to direct telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, to report 5G subscriber numbers separately. TRAI has also asked the struggling telco Vodafone Idea about its plans to launch the 5G Services, according to a report by ET Telecom.
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So far, only Bharti Airtel has announced the unique 5G user numbers using its 5G Network. Airtel announced in February that it had crossed 10 million unique 5G users mark on its Network and 1 million unique 5G user mark in Mumbai.
Reliance Jio, on the other hand, says its 5G is already being experienced by millions of users across hundreds of cities, and there are no numbers from Jio yet. Another private telco, Vodafone Idea, says it is actively engaging with the device and Network Gear vendors for its 5G plans.
"TRAI will soon issue a directive to telecom operators regarding reporting of 5G subscribers. TRAI has also written to Vodafone Idea, seeking information about their 5G launch plans," the report quoted an official who is aware of the details.
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Current Subscriber Reporting
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have been offering 5G services in India since October 2022. However, the operators have not yet reported the number of users using the 5G technology. As a convention, TRAI reports all telcos' monthly subscriber numbers in India. TRAI's directive would require the telcos to provide this information, enabling the regulatory body to monitor the progress of 5G deployment in the country.
The definition of wireless broadband is not so clear with the introduction of 5G services. With the current data, TRAI can easily ascertain the number of 2G and 4G wireless subscribers as most telcos have shut down 3G networks. Now as there are two high-speed wireless broadband services (4G and 5G), there needs to be a differentiation between 4G and 5G, and this move of TRAI is in that direction.
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2G/3G/4G/5G Wireless Subscribers
Bharti Airtel has only 2G/4G/5G subscribers, having switched off 3G Network and reusing the spectrum for 4G/5G. Jio has only 4G/5G subscribers. Vodafone Idea mainly has 2G and 4G subscribers, whereas BSNL has 2G/3G/4G subscribers.
The directive by TRAI could potentially promote greater competition and transparency and drive the growth and adoption of 5G technology in India. The move towards 5G will also provide faster and more reliable connectivity, leading to the development of a variety of applications and services in areas such as healthcare, transportation, and education.