Commercial 5G networks are live in 61 countries worldwide, according to data by GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) ending January 2021. A total of 144 operators have launched commercial 3GPP-compatible 5G services in these countries. Meanwhile, 413 operators in 131 countries are investing in various 5G tests, trials, pilots, and deployments. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
Further, 65 operators have been identified to be investing in 5G standalone. This includes operators that have already launched 5G SA networks as well as those, which are evaluating, piloting, planning, and deploying. Also Read - DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials
5G in India: When will it roll out?
Of course, India is not on the list as commercial 5G services have not yet been rolled out in the country. However, players like Airtel recently showcased its 5G technology over a commercial network in Hyderabad. Reliance Jio is another telecom, which is ready to test its 5G technology in India. Also Read - Vivo V21 5G powered by Dimensity 800U SoC launched in India: Key features
The DoT (Department of Telecommunications) has told the Parliamentary Committee on IT that it will start 5G trials in India in one or two months, by May, according to a report by Economic Times. The committee is said to have received 16 applications for the trials with the use of both homegrown and imported technologies.
However, it is unlikely that users will be able to get their hands soon as it could take longer for commercial services to roll out after the trials.
Airtel says its 5G networks are ready
Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of India and South Asia of Bharti Airtel said in a Q3 2021 earning call that Airtels’ networks are now 5G-ready, even though the 5G ecosystem itself in India is at a nascent stage.
Airtel says that users can download a full-length movie in just a matter of seconds over its 5G networks. It utilised the existing liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology to showcase its live 5G service.
Meanwhile, smartphone makers have already launched their 5G-ready devices in India such as OnePlus Nord, Moto G 5G, and Apple iPhone 12. In fact, the 5G smartphone shipment in India is expected to reach 38 million in 2021, according to research firm Counterpoint.
Reliance Jio to launch 5G in the second half of 2021
Reliance Jio is gearing up to roll out the 5G technology in India in the second half of 2021. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the India Mobile Congress last year that the 5G solution will be powered by the indigenously-developed network, hardware, and technology components.
Jio is said to have developed a complete 5G solution from scratch, which will allow the company to launch its 5G service in India using a 100 percent homegrown technology and solution.