Here’s Why You Still Can’t Use 5G In Your 5G Phone

Apple said it is working with carrier partners in India to bring the 5G experience to iPhone users as soon as network validation and testing for quality and performance is completed
Here’s Why You Still Can’t Use 5G In Your 5G Phone

On October 1, 2022, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 5G services were rolled out in India. Just after the official inauguration, only two out of the three leading telecom operators (Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel) commenced 5G services in a few cities. 
Selected users from four cities–Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, and Varanasi–enjoyed Reliance Jio’s 5G services on the inaugural day. Whereas, users from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Siliguri, Nagpur, and Varanasi got the opportunity to relish the 5G network on October 6. 50 crores smartphone users expected that 5G would provide a seamless experience of enjoying the fastest networks. But the picture seems different since the rollout. 
Users with 5G-enabled phones (including iPhones) have not been able to use the latest technology. A lot of them are facing major inconveniences while connecting with the fastest network. 
Smartphone makers were indulged in the process to sell 5G-ready phones since the beginning of 2020. It was thought, that once the technology makes its way out, smartphones will be able to catch up with the networking system fast. However, the reality has turned out a bit different. 
The disruptions in using the service led the government to step into action. On Wednesday, the top officials of the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ( MEIT) called for a meeting with the leading telecom service providers and smartphone makers in the country. Executives from multiple smartphone-making companies like Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Vivo and telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Bharti Airtel reportedly joined the meeting. 
The non-compatibility of smartphones to catch up with the fastest network seems to be the cause for concern for multiple smartphone makers. Only a few among the favorites were successful in providing the service. The non-compatibility even hit Apple’s latest innovation, iPhone 14, and many smartphones under the Samsung flagship. 
Apple, Samsung Expected To Soon Roll Out Software Updates
Apple on Wednesday said it will start rolling out 5G software updates for iPhone users in December. "5G will be enabled via a software update and will start rolling out to iPhone users in December," Apple said in a statement. The company also said that they’re working with carrier partners in India to bring the 5G experience to iPhone users as soon as network validation and testing for quality and performance are completed.
Meanwhile, a Samsung India spokesperson said the company would roll out updates across all its 5G devices by mid-November.
Both of the companies are currently testing the network in India with carrier partners. Apple’s executives are also meeting Airtel for the same issue. But it doesn’t look like the issue will be resolved for several 5G-enabled phone users before December.
"Apple has been taking a lot of time. Airtel has been concerned about this as many of their premium clients are on Apple devices," Reuters cited an industry source as saying.
On the other hand, a Google spokesperson said on Wednesday: "Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and Pixel 6a are 5G capable devices. We are actively working with the Indian carriers to enable functionality at the earliest."
When brands like Apple and Samsung are struggling with software updates, multiple Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Redmi, Poco, Realme, Oppo, Vivo, iQOO, and Infinix have made it easy for users by installing 5G-ready software on all supported phones. They do not need to wait for an update.
Why Don’t Some 5G Phones Still Support 5G?
The smartphones need to match the 5G frequency bands in India. There are three frequency bands for 5G– low-band, mid-band, and high-band mmWave. The Apple and Samsung flagship smartphones may have the hardware to optimise the bands. But in comparison with the other Chinese brands-led smartphones, they do not have the necessary software support in terms of optimising those bands.
Weren’t Smartphone Makers Prepared For The 5G Rollout In India?
Navkendar Singh, Associate Vice President, of Devices Research at IDC India, South Asia, and ANZ, said “smartphone makers and network providers were not fully prepared due to the rushed launch of 5G in the country and that they need time to optimise everything for a smooth 5G experience for smartphone users.”
“The phones have 5G not out of a rise in demand, but since China has already moved to 5G. This has resulted in a supply of 5G-enabled phones along with accessories. However, what bands would be available was not made clear even six months ago,” 
“I don’t think it is a bad idea to optimise the 5G experience and take some time to give an OTA update, it’s not just about the brands, there was also a rushed launch (of 5G) at the end of September at Indian Mobile Congress,” Singh said.  “If it would have been a soft launch for 5G, people wouldn’t have cared much but now people would expect their devices to support it,” he added. 
Singh does not find smartphone makers guilty of taking time for software updates to make their devices support all the 5G bands. “They also need time to optimise everything. If 5G doesn’t work on their phones, people will blame the device and not the network,” he told  Outlook Business. 

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