New Delhi: In light of worries that many Apple, Samsung, and other mobile phone companies’ models are not yet prepared for the recently announced high-speed service, the government will insist these companies to prioritise releasing software updates to support 5G in the nation.
With great fanfare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi debuted 5G services on October 1. Leading telecom provider Reliance Jio announced that it would offer the service in four cities and rival Bharti Airtel in eight. Both businesses declared that the service area would be expanded next year.
However, according to three industry insiders and the website of Airtel, Apple’s iPhone models, including the most recent iPhone 14, and many of Samsung’s top smartphones, do not have software suited for enabling 5G in India.
Top bureaucrats from India’s telecom and IT departments are worried about this and will preside over a meeting for early 5G adoption on Wednesday. According to a government document, being circulated in the media, they have invited smartphone executives from international companies like Apple, Samsung, Vivo, and Xiaomi as well as domestic telecom operators Reliance, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea to attend.
The announcement for the closed-door meeting indicated that the agenda included holding discussions “to prioritise” and releasing software upgrades for supporting the high-speed network.
Requests for comment from Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics, Vivo, Xiaomi Corp., and the three domestic telecom operators did not immediately elicit a response. Both the telecom and IT departments of the government remained silent.
The rollout of 5G in the second-largest mobile market in the world (India), after China, would give users access to high-speed internet while also having positive socioeconomic effects on industries like agriculture and health.
In August, in 5G spectrum auctions, Jio, India’s largest mobile network with more than 420 million subscribers, purchased spectrums valued at approximately Rs 88,078 crore. While Vodafone spent more than Rs 18,799 crore, Airtel spent more than Rs 43,084 crore.
While there have been negotiations between telecom providers and smartphone manufacturers, one of the individuals in the sector claimed that it is taking time to resolve compatibility problems between the unique 5G technology used by Indian telecom companies and phone software.
On Tuesday, the 5G compatible section of Airtel’s website stated for all 12 to 14 models of Apple iPhones that “Apple has not yet done a software update.” According to Airtel, many Samsung devices were also not ready, although more than 30 Xiaomi and Vivo models from China were listed as being compatible with the company’s 5G service.
According to sources, Apple is currently evaluating several 5G offerings from Indian network operators.