5G launched in India: Airtel, Jio, Vi, and BSNL 5G rollout plans

All your 5G launch in India questions answered here.

5G launch in India was done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Mobile Congress, New Delhi on October 1st. The fifth-gen cellular connectivity is now live in the country and will be available to 75 percent of the population by the end of 2022. Airtel has announced the launch of 5G services in eight cities across India, while Jio 5G services will kick off later this month. This will be followed by Vi 5G rollout in the country. BSNL 5G launch in India has also been announced. That said, don’t expect the countrywide availability of the network just yet. The 5G services will take time to mature and initially be available in a handful of cities. Here’s everything you need to know:

What is 5G?

5G, short for the fifth generation, is a new global wireless standard that succeeds the 4G network, which provides connectivity to most smartphones out there. Higher multi-Gbps speeds, lower latency, and more reliability compared to the previous-generation mobile networks are some of the benefits of the fifth-generation network. The network also presents use cases against AR/VR, AI, and high-speed broadband, among others to users. Countries like the US, South Korea, Europe, and China have already raced ahead in 5G deployments.

Here are some of the benefits of 5G

  • Improves network connectivity
  • Offers multi-Gbps speed
  • Has low latency
  • Is more reliable than current mobile networks
  • Supports a greater number of connected devices such as self-driving cars, gaming, remote surgeries, and other IoT devices

When will 5G launch in India?

5G has officially been launched in India. PM Modi has inaugurated the services in the country, and it is now up to the telcos to rollout 5G. DoT in a press statement has confirmed that the 5G services will be available in as many as 13 cities across the country in 2022. These cities include Delhi, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune, and Gandhi Nagar. 

  • 5G commercial rollout has begun
  • Airtel has taken the lead by launching the network in key Indian cities, including Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore
  • Jio and Vi are also 5G ready

Over 200 Indian cities will have 5G services in the next six months, confirmed Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Attempts are being made to make 5G services available in 80-90 percent of the country in the next 2 years, he added

5G frequency bands in India

The 5G frequency bands in India are available in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz. Out of these, Jio bought the coveted 700MHz band, which is believed to offer better services, along with 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands. The telco spent Rs 88,078 crore for a total of 24,740 MHz of spectrum.

Airtel, on the other hand, invested in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands. The telco shelled out 43,084 crores for a total of 19,876 Mhz of the spectrum. Vi spent the least (Rs 18,799 crore) among all the telcos for the 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands, acquiring a total of 6,228 MHz of airwaves.

Jio 5G plans, price

  • Jio 5G services will be available in India by October-end
  • The network will be powered by the indigenously developed hardware and technology components
  • Jio 5G rates will be the most affordable in the world

Jio has officially confirmed the launch of its 5G network in India. The telco will begin rolling out in the country from Diwali, which is in October this year. The Jio 5G will initially be available in DelhiMumbaiKolkata and Chennai, before rolling out to other regions. Jio claims that it will take at least 18 months for the network to mature in the country. Additionally, the Jio 5G services will be based on a standalone (SA) 5G network, which has faster connectivity speed and better latency than the non-standalone (NSA) network. The SA network will different infrastructure altogether and have zero dependencies on the existing 4G network.

That said, the telco claims that it’ll be easily upgraded to a 5G network from 4G, owing to the telco’s converged network infrastructure. Jio’s 5G will be powered by the indigenously developed network, hardware and technology components. As for the Jio 5G rates, Mukesh Ambani has claimed that they will be most affordable than anyone else in the world. 

Airtel 5G plans

  • Airtel has started rolling out 5G in India
  • Airtel 5G is likely to offer speeds up to 300Mbps
  • Airtel 5G will reportedly be offered at the existing 4G rates

Airtel has started rolling out 5G in 8 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, and Bangalore. The complete list hasn’t been announced yet, but rumours have it that the other cities are Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. That said, we are not sure whether Airtel’s 5G services cover the entirety of all cities or are available at a particular point. What we do know is that telco is 5G-ready and in agreements with Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung as network partners to deliver the 5G services in the country. Airtel announced the deployment of India’s first state-of-the-art Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology, which is a key enabler for 5G networks, in 2017. The company has already deployed the technology in Bangalore, Kolkata, and several other regions in the country.

Airtel will reportedly price its 5G plans at the existing 4G rates. 

Vi 5G plans, price

  • Vi plans to launch 5G soon
  • The company has upgraded its 4G network with 5G architecture

Vi aka Vodafone Idea is also all set to roll out 5G in India soon. The company is yet to confirm the specific timeline for the launch; however, it has upgraded its 4G network with 5G architecture and other technologies like dynamic spectrum refarming (DSR) and MIMO. “Our network is very much 5G-ready. When the 5G auction takes place, we will be able to launch 5G. However, there is a need to develop India 5G use cases. India is unique and some global use cases might not be relevant,” Vodafone Idea MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar said during the AGM meeting last year.

There is no word on Vi 5G tariff at the moment.

BSNL 5G plans, price

  • BSNL 5G services launch in India on August 15th
  • The services will reportedly be based on indigenously-developed technology

State-owned telco BSNL 5G launch in India is set for August 15th, 2023, announced Telecom Minster Ashwini Vaishnaw at IMC 2022. The services will be based on indigenously-developed technology, per the ET Telcom report. The telco will reportedly upgrade its 4G network to next-gen 5G. Vaishnaw was caught saying “The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is making progress in the 5G network that will be ready by the end of August, and by December field tests will be completed. By next year, the Indian 5G stack will be ready to deploy including in BSNL.”

BSNL 5G plans are also expected to be affordable. While Vaishnaw did not specify the pricing, he said that 5G services, like the 4G, will be affordable.

Also read: BSNL 4G launch date, availability, plans, SIM card price, and everything else we know so far

5G speed in India

5G speed in India will be 10 times faster than the existing 4G speed. While the telcos have recorded speed in access to 1Gbps (Vi 5G speed peaked 5.90Gbps) during the trial phase, the real-world speed is likely to be around 200-300Mbps. It was indeed the case with Airtel 5G speed at the IMC 2022. The network offered 304Mbps download speed on the OnePlus 10 Pro.

5G launch in India news

5G services to rollout in Varanasi and Ahmedabad on October 1st (September 30th)

After the 5G launch in India at IMC 2022, 5G services could start rolling out in the country. Per a report by Business Standard, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio will launch their 5G services on Saturday in Varanasi and a village close to Ahmedabad in the presence of the respective state chief ministers.

PM Modi to inaugurate 5G services in India at IMC (September 26th)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially announce the launch of the 5G network in India at Indian Mobile Congres on October 1st. “Taking India’s digital transformation & connectivity to new heights, Hon’ble PM, @narendramodi, will roll out 5G services in India; at India Mobile Congress; Asia’s largest technology exhibition,” reads National Broadband Mission’s tweet.

5G mobile services to start soon in India, PM Modi (August 15th)

In his Independence day 2022 speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India will soon see the advent of 5G mobile services. He rooted for ‘Made-in-India’ technology and added that it is time for India’s techade and digital technology to bring in reforms in every area.

PM may launch 5G network in India on September 29th (August 12th)

5G launch in India is expected in September. Per a report by The Hindu BusinessLine, the 5G network launch will be done by PM Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 on September 29th.

5G rollout in India in October, says government (August 5th)

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in an interview with India Today Group has announced that the 5G network will be available in India by October. The government has plans to allocate the spectrum to the bidders by August 10th.

5G spectrum auction ends, with bids of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore (August 1st)

India’s first ever 5G spectrum auction has been concluded, with the government receiving bids of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Reliance Jio was the top bidder in the auction acquiring almost half of the spectrum that was up for grabs. It was followed by Airtel, Vi, and Adani Group. The latter will use the spectrum for its business venture.

Adani Group will participate in the 5G auction (July 11th)

Adani Group has confirmed its entry into the telecom spectrum space. In a statement, the company said it will be participating in the upcoming 5G spectrum auction alongside Airtel, Vi, and Jio. “We are participating in the 5G spectrum auction to provide private network solutions along with enhanced cyber security in the airport, ports & logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution, and various manufacturing operations.”

Telecom authority warns against the installation of fake towers, ahead of 5G launch in India (July 3rd)

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Digital Infrastructure Providers’ Association (DIPA) both have cautioned users against the installation of fake towers. The authorities have observed that certain companies, agencies, or individuals are fraudulently approaching people, asking them to deposit money in their personal or company accounts in the name of government tax for leasing their premises for the installation of mobile towers.

5G will roll out in 20-25 cities in the first phase, with prices lower than the global market (June 21st)

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has reportedly confirmed that the 5G data prices in the country would be “significantly lower than the global average”. Additionally, the minister announced that the 20-25 cities across the country will get a 5G mobile network. This is up from 13 cities the government announced earlier this year.

5G mega spectrum is scheduled for July end (June 16th)

The mega spectrum of the next-gen 5G services is now officially scheduled for July end, as officially announced by the Indian government. The rollout of the 5G services will begin soon after the auction, most likely in August or September.

5G spectrum auction in June, launch expected in August-September 2022 (April 29th)

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that the government is likely to hold the auction of the 5G spectrum, including airwaves, in early June. The Department of Telecom is working as per the expected timeline and the process is on to resolve industry concerns around spectrum pricing, the minister added. Digital Communications Commission will take a call on the spectrum pricing based on TRAI’s recommendation soon.

Per the minister, the commercial rollout of 5G services could be expected from August-September 2022 onwards. 

5G spectrum auction as per schedule (April 6th)

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has revealed that the 5G spectrum auction in India will be held as per schedule. While the minister hasn’t confirmed the dates, rumours are rife that the auction will take place in May. If that happens, we can expect a 5G services rollout in August. 

Airtel 5G rollout within months of auction (March 3rd)

Airtel chief Bharati Mittal has said that its network is 5G ready and will launch in India within months of auction. In an interview with ET Telecom, Mittal said as soon as the recommendations come and auctions happen, within months I would say you will have early 5G networks coming up and Airtel has been getting ready for it for a long time.

5G rollout in 2022 (February 7th)

In her Union Budget 2022 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 5G mobile services rollout will begin in 2022-2023. This falls in line with an earlier announcement from TRAI. She further announced that the 5G spectrum auction will begin this year.

Jio 5G phone (February 1st)

The much-anticipated Jio 5G phone is expected to launch later this year. Ahead of that, the phone’s specifications and estimated price have been leaked. The JioPhone 5G price in India is said to be somewhere between Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 (around $120 to $160). As for the specifications, the smartphone is tipped to sport a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS LCD panel with a 1,600 x 720 pixel resolution. It’s likely to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G processor, which will be paired with an Adreno 619 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage. In the software department, the Jio Phone 5G is said to boot Android 11 OS out of the box with Google Play Services and Jio Digital Suite of apps.

Jio 5G planning done for 1,000 cities across India (January 22th)

Jio 5G coverage planning for 1,000 cities in India has been completed. The telco has announced that it is working on a data-driven 5G network that will be based on targeted customer consumption revenue using Heat maps, 3D maps and ray-tracing technology for precise coverage planning to target high-consumption and high-perception locations.

TRAI to review 5G spectrum auction payment terms (January 18th)

5G spectrum auction, which will be held later this year, may come with the same two-year moratorium or get a four-year moratorium. TRAI is currently hovering over the plan, per the Financial Express report. The report further added that the telecom authority will also decide if operators need to pay any upfront amount for the spectrum.

5G plans in India could be similar to 4G (January 8th)

While several reports have indicated that the 5G plans in India will be costlier than 4G, Counterpoint Research Analyst Charu Paliwal suggests otherwise. She claims that the 5G prices in India are expected to be similar to 4G prices to attract more subscribers and encourage upgrades. However, operators will eventually add a premium once the network has wide coverage and established data speeds. This has been the case with 4G as well. Jio, Vi, and Airtel 4G recharge plans prices in India were increased up to 25 percent in the country recently.

5G spectrum auction (January 7th)

The 5G spectrum auction, which is still pending in India, may take place in July-August, which suggests Charu Paliwal, a Counterpoint Research Analyst. She was quoted saying in the India Today report that the ‘5G auction has been delayed to mid-2022.’ This means that the 5G launch in India won’t happen until the end of 2022. Paliwal further added that initially, 5G services will be limited to urban areas (metros and big cities) and network expansion to other parts of the country will take another couple of years. However, she asserts that “5G will see a rapid rollout, unlike 4G, wherein the services were launched in a few cities, and it took a new entrant (Jio) for operators to expand nationwide.”