Airtel has officially announced its 5G services in India. Dubbed the Airtel 5G Plus, the services will initially be available in a handful of cities. However, over time the 5G services will be rolled out to other regions. “All of urban India to be covered in 2023 making this one of the fastest roll-outs,” said Airtel in its press release. The Airtel 5G Plus is said to offer massive speeds and the best voice experience. The telco claims that the network will also be kinder to the environment and work on all 5G smartphones. Here’s everything we know about the Airtel 5G launch date in India, plans, speed, SIM availability, and a list of compatible smartphones so far.
Airtel 5G Plus launch date in India
Airtel 5G services were inaugurated at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 on October 1st. This was followed by an official launch on October 6th where the company announced a list of cities that will be getting its 5G services initially along with SIM, plans, and other details.
Airtel 5G cities
The Airtel 5G services are available only in these cities for now:
Apart from the cities and states mentioned above, Airtel 5G is also available in Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Meerut, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Agra, Prayagraj, Vizag, Gandhinagar, Jammu, Srinagar, Shimla, Imphal, Guwahati, Muzaffarpur, Bodh Gaya, Bhagalpur, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Akhnoor, Kupwara, Lakhanpur, Khour, Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Hosur, Udaipur, Kota, Siliguri, Kochi, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Rourkela.
The company has promised to roll out 5G in a phased manner and cover all urban regions by next year. By March 2024, Airtel 5G Plus will be available in all regions and districts across the country.
Airtel 5G plans and SIM
You don’t need a new SIM to use Airtel services in India. The telco has said that the Airtel 5G Plus will be available on existing 4G SIMs. Apart from this, customers can enjoy 5G services on their existing data plans, which are your regular Airtel plans that are available in the market, until the roll-out is complete. However, to use 5G, you need to have a compatible device.
Airtel 5G compatible devices
Airtel has announced a list of devices that are compatible with its 5G network. These are basically all your 5G-capable smartphones that have been launched in the market in the last two years. That being said, Apple is yet to enable Airtel 5G support on its iPhones. You can visit Airtel’s website or scroll down to check the list of Airtel 5G-compatible devices in India:
- iPhone 12 series and above, including iPhone SE 2020 and 2022
- Samsung Galaxy S22 and S21 series
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, A33 5G, A52s, A73, and A22
- Samsung Galaxy M33, M13, M42, M52, and M53
- Samsung Galaxy S20FE 5G
- Samsung Galaxy F42
Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO
- Xiaomi 10 series
- Xiaomi 11 series
- Poco M3 Pro 5G
- Poco F3 GT
- Redmi Note 11T 5G
- Xiaomi 11T Pro
- Redmi Note 10T 5G
- Redmi Note 11 Pro+
- POCO M4 5G series
- Xiaomi 12 pro
- Redmi 11 Prime 5G
- POCO F4 5G
- POCO X4 pro
- Redmi K50i
- Realme 8 series
- Realme X7 series
- Realme Narzo 30 5G series
- Realme X50 Pro
- Realme GT 5G series
- Realme 9 series
- Realme GT series
- Realme GT Neo 3
- Realme Narzo 50 5G series
- OnePlus Nord
- OnePlus 9 series
- OnePlus Nord CE 5G
- OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G series
- OnePlus 10 series
- OnePlus Nord 2T
- OnePlus 10T
- OnePlus 8 series
- OnePlus Nord 2
- OPPO Reno 6 series
- OPPO F19 Pro+ 5G
- OPPO A53s 5G, A74
- OPPO A74 5G
- OPPO Reno 7 series
- OPPO F21 series
- OPPO Reno 8 series
- OPPO K10 5G
- OPPO Find X2
Vivo and iQOO
- iQOO 3 5G
- Vivo X50 Pro
- Vivo V20 Pro
- Vivo X60 series
- Vivo iQOO 7 series
- Vivo V21 5G series
- Vivo iQOO Z3
- Vivo X70 series
- Vivo IQOO Z5 5G
- Vivo Y72 5G
- Vivo V23 5G series
- Vivo T1 5G series
- Vivo Y75 5G
- Vivo iQOO 9 series
- Vivo iQOO Z6 5G
- Vivo X80 series
- Vivo iQOO 9T
- Vivo V25 series
- Vivo Y55s 5G
- Motorola Edge 30 Fusion
- Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
- Moto G62
- Moto G82 5G
- Moto Edge 30
- Moto G71 5G
- Moto Edge 30 Pro
- Moto G51 5G
- Moto Edge 20 Pro
- Moto Edge 20
- Moto Edge 20 Fusion
- Lava Agni
While this is the full list of compatible Airtel 5G devices, it should be noted that some of these devices, including iPhones, are yet to receive an update that will enable their 5G settings.
How to use Airtel 5G Plus
Even if you are in Airtel 5G Plus city or got a compatible smartphone, you will need to activate 5G on your smartphone to use the services. We have covered a detailed guide on how to activate 5G on your Android mobile phone and iPhone separately, you can check that out or follow the steps below:
- Go to your phones’ ‘Settings’ app
- Select ‘Mobile network’ or a similar setting
- Choose the Airte SIM to enable 5G
- From here, tap on the ‘Preferred network type’ option
- Now, select the 5G network type
- If 5G has been rolled out in your region, you should be getting a 5G symbol in the next couple of minutes on the status bar
Airtel 5G speed
Airtel has claimed its 5G Plus speed will be 20 to 30 times faster than its 4G speed. The network will allegedly be able to download HD movies within seconds and stream high-quality 4k videos without buffering.
If you are looking for numbers, Airtel 5G delivered a download speed of 300Mbps at the IMC 2022. Apart from this, the Airtel 5G speed has been around 1,000Mbps during the trials conducted by the telco in Gurugram and Mumbai. However, in Hyderabad, the network managed to hit peak speeds of 3Gbps (3,000Mbps), which is three times faster than Jio’s 5G trial, allowing users to download a full-length movie in a matter of seconds. While this is significantly faster than the 4G network speed, we have to bear in mind that the network was completely bereft of other users during the test, and the real-world experience may vary.
Airtel 5G spectrum
Airtel has acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands through the auction for Rs 43,084 crore. This is almost half of what Jio has spent on the 5G spectrum auction. While Jio got the coveted 700MHz band, Airtel bought 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 band pan India and 800 MHz in the millimetre band. The telco is confident that with the said spectrum it will be able to deliver the best 5G experience in India in terms of coverage, speeds and latency.
Airtel 5G news
Airtel 5G expands to 7 seven cities of Jammu & Kashmir (January 27th)
Airtel has initiated the rollout of its 5G services in seven cities of Jammu & Kashmir, namely Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Akhnoor, Kupwara, Lakhanpur, and Khour. Prepaid and postpaid users willing to try out 5G can toggle on the 5G option from the network settings on their smartphones.
Airtel rolls out 5G services to 4 cities in Tamil Nadu (January 24th)
Airtel has started rolling out its 5G services in several areas of Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, and Hosur. Customers with a 5G compatible smartphone in these cities can experience high-speed internet by toggling on the 5G option from the Settings app.
Airtel 5G Plus now available in 5 cities of Delhi NCR (January 18th)
After the 5G services launch in Delhi and Gurugram in late 2022, the telco has started rolling out 5G in Noida, Ghaziabad, and Faridabad. Subscribers willing to experience 5G can switch to the 5G option within their mobile’s setting to utilise high-speed internet.
Airtel rolls out 5G services to 3 cities in Rajasthan (January 17th)
Airtel has started deploying its 5G network in Jaipur, Udaipur, and Kota. Users having an Airtel SIM along with a compatible smartphone can start using 5G data by enabling the 5G network option from the Settings app.
Airtel 5G launched in Gurugram (November 15th)
Airtel 5G Plus services are now available in Gurugram, Haryana. Per the telco, Airtel users at DLF Cyber Hub, DLF Phase 2, MG Road, Rajiv Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Atlas Chowk, Udyog Vihar, Nirvana Country, Gurugram railway station, Civil lines, Ardee city, Huda city centre, Gurugram National Highway and few other select locations will be able to use the high-speed 5G internet.
Airtel 5G records 1 million users in less than 30 days (November 2nd)
Airtel claims it has crossed 1 million unique users mark on its newly launched 5G network. This feat has been achieved in less than 30 days that too from just the 8 Indian cities where Airtel 5G is currently live.
Airtel 5G services are said to be available on higher plans (August 22nd)
Airtel is likely to offer 5G services with a top-tier plan initially, said Akhil Gupta, vice-chairman of parent Bharti Enterprises in a recent interview. He further added that the telco may not charge a premium for the superfast network. Instead, it might launch high-price plans and prompt users to upgrade to the upcoming network as data consumption rises.
Airtel plans to complete 5G rollout across India by 2024 (August 12th)
Airtel, which is expected to launch 5G network later this month, aims to complete the network rollout across India by 2024. That being said, the telco’s 5G rollout plan for 5,000 towns is already in place. CEO Gopal Vittal of Bharti Airtel has highlighted the company’s intention to start off with 5,000 towns initially as a setup to support the system that is already in place.
Airtel reportedly bids for spectrum worth Rs 45,000 crore (July 28th)
Not as much as Jio, but Airtel seems to have bid for spectrum worth Rs 45,000 crore. This is 20 percent more than its base case. The extra cash is probably used for low 1800MHz and 2100MHz airwaves, which are useful in covering large spaces and penetrating deep indoors.
Airtel demonstrates 5G network at Bosch facility (July 15th)
Airtel has announced a successful trial of the 5G network at Bosch Automotive Electronics India Pvt Ltd (RBAI) facility in Bengaluru. The telco has implemented two industrial-grade use cases at Bosch’s manufacturing facility, utilising the trial spectrum. In both cases, Airtel’s 5G technology drove automated operations ensuring faster scale-up and reduced downtimes. The network is said to have the capability to manage thousands of connected devices along with delivering multi-GBPS throughput.
5G spectrum auction in July (June 21st)
The mega 5G spectrum auction will officially be conducted in July. Telecom operators, including Airtel, will bid to lease required spectrums for 5G for a period of 20 years. Following the auction, the 5G services should start rolling out in the country in August-September. It has officially been confirmed that 20 to 25 cities across the country will get 5G connectivity by the end of 2022.
Airtel 5G connected ambulance to launch soon (April 30th)
Airtel has announced a partnership with Apollo Hospital and Cisco to create a 5G connected ambulance. The ambulance can stay connected to the hospital with the power of high-bandwidth and low-latency 5G networks and can bring doctors onboard virtually to help and assist paramedics in critical condition. Airtel conducted this demonstration in Bengaluru with the 5G spectrum that was allotted to the telco by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for 5G trials.
5G spectrum auction in India in early June (April 29th)
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has confirmed India’s 5G auction in June. The government is now working on resolving industry concerns around spectrum pricing. Telecom regulator TRAI has mooted a mega auction plan valued at over Rs 7.5 lakh crore at the base price across multiple bands for radio waves allocated over 30 years. However, telecom operators, including Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone Idea (Vi), have expressed disappointment over the price.
Airtel conducts India’s first Open RAN-based 5G validation (April 5th)
Ahead of the 5G launch in India, Airtel has conducted the network’s first open radio access network (RAN)-based validation test in India. The telco has partnered with Mavenir, a telecom network software provider, for the 5G NSA validation on 3,500MHz band spectrum. “Speed of up to 1Gbps validated using the commercially available 5G devices,” a person aware of the matter told ET.