Top officials of the DoT and IT ministry have called a joint meeting of smartphone companies, including Apple and Samsung, and telecom operators on issues related to provide smooth access to 5G services, a government official said on Tuesday.
While over 100 million subscribers in India have 5G-ready phones, many devices, including Apple, are not supporting the service at present. “We shall be working together to ensure smooth rollout of 5G, including smooth onboarding of consumers,” an official source told PTI. A joint meeting of smartphone companies and telecom operators will be held on Wednesday at the Department of Telecom (DoT) office.
Secretaries of both the DoT and Ministry of Electronics and IT will chair the meeting to discuss teething 5G issues. The agenda of the meeting includes a discussion around enabling the handsets to start supporting 5G services on 5G networks in India. Bharti Airtel is the only company to have commercially launched 5G services while Jio has started beta trials. At the meeting, the authorities will discuss the intervention of handset manufacturers and telecom operators to release software updates for all 5G handsets and prioritise the software upgrade for the adoption of 5G in India.
According to an industry source, who did not wish to be identified, Apple is currently testing iPhone with Airtel and Jio to work on software updates that will give access to 5G services to consumers. Another source said all Samsung flagship smartphones and some of the mid-range 5G handsets are already supporting 5G services and the company is working on releasing updates for the rest of the smartphones. According to an Ericsson report, over the past two years, India has witnessed three times increase in smartphone users who own a 5G handset.
The study reveals that over 100 million users with 5G-ready smartphones wish to upgrade to a 5G subscription in 2023 while more than half of them are open to upgrading to a higher data tier plan in the next 12 months. Bharti Airtel has started rolling 5G in eight cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi while Jio has started beta trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi. The 5G services will progressively cover the entire country over the next couple of years — Jio promises to do that by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024.