Decoding 5G rollout in India – Here is everything you need to know

The 5G era is almost here in India. Telecom operators in the country have acquired their shares of the spectrum and are now preparing to roll out 5G services across the country. Soon, those with 5G-compatible smartphones will be able to take full advantage of the superfast speeds and the low latency offered by the new wireless standard.

However, if you have an incompatible phone, you will not be able to enjoy this cutting-edge wireless standard that is set to revolutionise the way we use our smartphones. Luckily, various phone manufacturers have already flooded the market with 5G devices in all price brackets in the country. Right now, Flipkart is the best destination to buy 5G phones at attractive price points as they have a huge selection across brands in your budget and other affordability plans to help you upgrade to the latest 5G phones. Before you decide which 5G smartphone you should buy, we thought of answering some frequently asked questions regarding this new connectivity standard. So check out everything you need to know about the 5G rollout in India ahead of its full release.

When is 5G coming to India?

Chatter about 5G coming to India has been on for a very long time, however, we can finally say that the rollout is not too far away. That’s because the auction of the 5G spectrum has already finished and major telecom operators have obtained the spectrums needed to deploy 5G services. Following this auction, a number of companies announced that 5G services will start being rolled out in the country by mid-October. That means you can expect the launch to happen within the next few weeks.

Which cities will the rollout start from?

According to reports, 5G services will start being offered in India in a phased manner. The service will be made live in major cities first, after which wider coverage will be enabled, eventually spreading across India. It’s being said that the first 13 cities to get 5G will be Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune. Once the rollout in these cities is carried out in a successful manner, you can expect other parts of the country to get 5G support over the next year.

What are the different 5G bands in India?

In general, 5G bands are classified into three types based on their frequencies. These include low-band, mid-band, and high-band (also known as mmWave). The low band will include a frequency of about 600MHz, while the high band will include a frequency of more than 60GHz. In India, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had floated frequency bands ranging from 600MHz to 72GHz during the auction.

The general rule of thumb here is – the more the frequency, the better the speed, and the shorter will be its reach. Hence, low-band waves can travel long distances and penetrate obstacles while offering decent 5G speeds. On the other hand, high-band mmWave frequencies offer extremely fast speeds but are not adept at penetrating obstacles and objects, leading to a much lower range. All telecom operators were able to acquire 5G spectrum of different frequencies during the auction.

What are the eight 5G bands across different frequencies?

The low-band 5G space is occupied by the 700MHz (n28), 800MHz (n5), and 900MHz (n8) frequencies in India. As for the mid-band space, it includes the 1800MHz (n3), 2100MHz (n1), 2500MHz (n41), 3300 – 3800MHz (n78), and 3300 – 4200MHz (n77) frequencies. The high-band includes the 26GHz standard encompassing 24.25 – 27.5GHz (n258).

Do you need a new SIM card to change to 5G?

As of now, it doesn’t look like there will be a need to switch to new SIM cards when 5G connectivity is rolled out. That’s because telecom operators will use their existing 4G infrastructures to offer their 5G services. This is possible because these infrastructures support the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G architecture. The Standalone (SA) 5G architecture will take some time to be built and deployed in the country.

What is 5Gi?

5Gi technology could play a crucial role in the 5G rollout story of India. The main aim behind the development of this standard is to improve 5G coverage in rural and remote areas of India’s diverse geographical landscape. This technology essentially extends the 5G connectivity by increasing the range of a base station. 5Gi manages to achieve this by using a Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC). The LMLC utilises the bands of spectrum that are lower than operational 5G bands but manages to offer a high-range waveform. Not only does this significantly expand the rural coverage of 5G but it also leads to more cost-efficient deployment of the new wireless standard.

In essence, the 5Gi technology standard will allow telecom companies to provide their 5G services across India without installing base stations in every few kilometres. Considering India’s diverse landscape, it will play a huge role for the 5G rollout in the country.

List of popular phones that support 5G in India

Less than Rs 15,000

Less than Rs 20,000

Less than Rs 25,000

Less than Rs 30,000

Above Rs 30,000

To browse more smartphones, visit the Flipkart mobile store.