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5G Coming Soon!



Mobile networks have improved drastically over the last decades. 5G or the 5th Generation of Mobile Networks is now set to make a mark in India. Countries such as the US, South Korea and China have already started to roll out 5G to their users. India has been planning to begin 5G services since 2018.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced that 5G will be rolling out initially in 13 cities including- Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and Jamnagar. The work for the 5G spectrum auction for next year has already started and telecom companies such as Jio, Airtel, Vi have already started trials for 5G in some cities. The frequency of the spectrum bands that are expected to be auctioned includes 526-698 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-28.5 GHz. These bands will be used for the public as well as private 5G networks. Eight agencies - Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, Indian Institute of Science (IISC) Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) - are involved in the research project called 'Indigenous 5G Testbed Project'. The project was started in 2018.

5G mainly works in 3 bands- low-frequency spectrum, medium frequency spectrum and High-frequency spectrum. The low-frequency spectrum has a speed of up to 100mbps. The medium frequency spectrum has comparatively more speed than the low-frequency spectrum but has less coverage area. The high-frequency spectrum has a speed of up to 20 Gbps.

For the spectrum, the cost is an issue. Jio being a considerably new member, might not be affected by it. But companies like Airtel and Vi will have some cost issues. Gopal Vittal, Airtel’s Chief Executive said: “The fundamental issue with 5G is spectrum cost, which is way over the top”. Jio who brought a revolution in the Indian Telecom industry, says that they can easily upgrade to 5G from 4G. 5G technology is expected to deliver improved user experience in terms of data download rates (expected to be 10 times that of 4G), up to three times greater spectrum efficiency and ultra-low latency Many Smartphone brands have already started rolling out 5G phones from 2020 onwards. Many phones just have one or two 5G bands and call them 5G. In my opinion, these are just marketing gimmicks. It will take at least 2 or 3 more years for 5G to be common to all. So, it might be better to buy a 5G phone at that time. If you want to buy a 5G phone now, please look at how many 5G bands does the device supports. The 5G spectrum auction will be held in April-May 2022. The increase in the prices of tariffs might be beneficial for the companies to develop 5G. Even though India has delayed the implementation of 5G services, there is hope that 5G services would be available throughout the country shortly.

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