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The road ahead with 5G implementation: Users to get up to 600 mbps speed during launch phase and at par with PC

The rollout of 5G is expected to drive down the cost of smartphones in India as well as make them work at par with workstations (professional computers)

Mobile subscribers will get up to 600 megabit per second speed in 5G network during the launch phase and handsets are expected to work at par with professional computers for accessing apps and data processing, according to industry players.

Reliance Jio has started providing 5G services to select customers in parts of four cities -- Delhi Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi -- and Bharti Airtel in parts of eight cities -- Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Siliguri -- to all customers with 5G handsets.

Subscribers of both companies will not require to replace the existing sim for availing of 5G services.

Jio has said that its customers will continue to avail of 5G services under "Beta trial" until the network coverage of a city is substantially complete.

The company has promised access to unlimited 5G data with a speed of up to 1 gigabit per second (GBPS). Industry players are of the opinion that this level of speed will be available very close to mobile stations.

"5G is expected to deliver up to 600 Mbps (megabit per second) during the launch phase because traffic on the network will be low. However, it will continue to remain in the range of 200-300 Mbps after full roll-out," Ericsson head of network solutions, strategic network evolution, Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, ThiawSeng Ng told PTI.

This means a two-hour high definition movie which is generally around 6 GB file size can be downloaded in 1 minute 25 seconds and a 4K movie in about 3 minutes at a top speed of 600 Mbps.

Customers buying 5G handsets or having 5G-enabled handsets will see the 5G option in their network setting and they will need to select it for availing of the service.

The mobile network display on their device will start showing 5G instead of 4G when 5G is available in their locality.

Former BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava said that telecom operators are expected to provide free 5G service till the time of roll out and give them a taste of the new service.

"Once the rollout is over in a circle, telecom operators may announce their tariff plan and charge a premium for 5G over 4G," Shrivastava said.

Nokia senior vice-president and head of India market Sanjay Malik said that the high speed in 5G will double the average data consumption per subscriber in India in one and half years.

He said that the tariff for 5G services varies from country to country.

"There are some countries who are not charging separately for 5G and there are some who are charging a premium. The model for India will evolve based on the business case here," Malik said.

The rollout of 5G is expected to drive down the cost of smartphones in India as well as make them work at par with workstations (professional computers).

Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon said the launch of 5G technology in India will also help bring 5G devices across all different price points. "When we look at the opportunities with 5G development in India, I see multiple and very important opportunities. They can all happen at the same time. The first one is India scale will bring in 5G technology into every single device at all different price points," he said.

"5G will democratise computing power. If you have a 5G device, whether it's a phone or a computer, you want to run an application that requires a lot of computing power. 5G will provide that connection to the cloud (computers) that allows you to tap on demand the computation of the cloud as if both were the same computer," Amon said.

Indian mobile phone company Lava has already announced the launch of a 5G smartphone, LavaBlaze 5G, in the price range of Rs 10,000 apiece around Diwali which will be the cheapest phone to support 5G services across all spectrum bands that telecom operators will use to transmit signals in India.

"5G will accelerate the digital empowerment in India, and affordable devices will be a key enabler in that. New low-latency based use cases are expected to emerge, apart from making the existing ones faster," Lava International President and Business head Sunil Raina said.

The high-speed data consumption on mobile phones is expected to drain the battery quickly. Keeping this in mind, several mobile phone companies have started coming up with 5,000 mAH batteries and fast charging features.

"Mobile devices' power consumption will go up with 5G usage as more cloud-based applications like gaming will start. Fortunately, we have a high-capacity battery along with fast charging already available. Personally, I feel consumers will appreciate smartphones offering 50 watts and above charging, as that will help them quickly replenish the battery," market research and analysis firm TechArc Chief Analyst Faisal Kawoosa said.

He said that there are all chances of finally seeing 'light' or 'thin' smartphones just like thin client laptops as computers will be primarily in the cloud.

"This could mean an affordable range of smartphones. However, to support other specifications like 4K video, ultra-rich graphics, etc, the chipsets enabling such features will still be in demand," Kawoosa said.

The June 2022 Ericsson Mobility Report also verifies that 5G is scaling faster than all previous mobile technology generations.

The report said that 5G is expected to account for nearly 40 per cent of all subscriptions by 2027 in India.

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.

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