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Jio, Airtel, Vi expected time period for 5G rollout delayed

India is yet to see the power of 5G. Private telcos including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are already running 5G trials in different parts of the country. While the telcos have come quite far with testing 5G, they are still not at the point where they can conclude it. The telecom companies were expected to finish the 5G trials by November 2021. This would have meant that the 5G spectrum auction could be held in the first quarter of 2022.

But according to a report, the telcos have been granted extra time for testing their 5G technology. The DoT has granted six more months to the telcos for testing 5G.

With extended trial phase, spectrum auctions to be pushed meaning 5G rollout delays
The plan was to give India a taste of 5G in the first half of 2022. However unlikely that seemed earlier, it is now confirmed that it won’t happen. Because the telcos will keep up with their 5G trials at least for the complete first quarter of 2022, the spectrum auction has to be pushed ahead.

It is worth noting that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) hasn’t come up with fresh base pricing for the 5G spectrum yet. According to another report, TRAI might suggest fresh pricing for the 5G spectrum by the end of February or March 2022.

Thus, naturally, the spectrum auctions will only take place in the following months. If it happens in the first quarter of FY23, it will mean that India will only see 5G in the second half of 2022. However, even this assumption comes with a big ‘if’. In case there are any more delays, India might only launch 5G networks in 2023.

Till that time, consumers will have to do with 4G networks. In fact, even after the arrival of 5G networks, its use cases suggest that it will be largely beneficial for enterprise customers only. It will take a lot of time before an average, or normal consumer will require 5G desperately.

In hindsight, the delays are not really bad. The telcos stand to benefit a lot from the delays that are being caused. This is giving the Indian market time to become ripe with great and affordable 5G smartphone options, which will mean that whenever the telcos launch 5G network services, they will have more customers to serve to.

It is something that is already in the minds of industry people. Hence, there’s no real rush for launching 5G in India.

All the telcos, including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, have already made major breakthroughs when it comes to 5G trials. Especially, Vodafone Idea is making giant strides in testing 5G and has been trying to explore innovative use cases of the technology. The more the telcos take time and test the next-generation network technology for building and discovering relevant use cases, the better it will be for India when they actually launch 5G services. There’s no real need for 5G even right now as the telcos have a lot of room to improve 4G services. TelecomTalk

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