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No 5G roadmap: Vi users are on wait and watch mode

Vi officially unveiled its 5G services at the India Mobile Congress on October 1. But currently the company has not commented anything on wide availability even as Jio and Airtel rollout 5G services in cities after cities. The Vi customers are even thinking of porting out.

By Abhik Sengupta: 5G is gradually rolling out in India, and telcos like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, are letting users in select circles enjoy fast internet connectivity practically for free. Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) users, on the other hand, have been waiting to experience 5G, and the company is yet to offer clarity about the rollout timeline. Naturally, the delay and silence from the company is frustrating for some Vi customers in different parts of the country.

India Today Tech spoke to multiple users in Delhi, Mumba, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, and some claimed that they might even consider moving to Airtel and Jio.

Vi users unhappy with no 5G coverage (yet)
Vi officially unveiled its 5G services at the India Mobile Congress on October 1. Its official website notes, “Vi is actively working with its partners to bring 5G to multiple cities.” However, the website does not specify a city or a timeline.

Speaking to India Today Tech, Debayan Dutta, a media professional in Kolkata and a long-time Vi user, said it bothers him as a customer that Vi is “lagging behind.” When asked whether he would switch to Airtel or Jio, Dutta said, “(I am) too comfortable with Vodafone at this point. Because that’s the only service I’ve used all my life.”

He added that he would consider switching his connection, but “5G isn’t the primary reason. But it is one of them”.

Aquib Ahmad, a lawyer from Delhi, is also bothered. He says that it “obviously” bothers him as a customer that he’s unable to “experience 5G”. He said that he wants to port out his Vi prepaid connection and join either Jio or Airtel, but he hasn’t done it yet because the process “takes too much time.”

Hasti from Mumbai claimed that Vi’s “4G works like 3G at times”, and she is “thinking of switching to Airtel”. However, she clarified that the lack of 5G wouldn’t be the only reason for her porting out since the company’s “services are not really up to the mark.”

Not all customers care about 5G, and a Vi user told India Today Tech that switching to Airtel or Jio is on the cards. And definitely not for something like 5G. Namrata Shukla, a media professional in Bengaluru said, “I have friends who have Airtel and they haven’t really mentioned how great the airtel 5G is.”

She added, “I don’t think there is much of a difference in terms of performance. Therefore, I am not really in a hurry to switch networks. I am just hoping that Vi will do a better job when they bring 5G.”

At this point, Airtel and Reliance Jio are offering 5G connectivity on eligible smartphones for free. In fact, recently I was using an Android phone and tried 5G in South Delhi. I got a speed of around 250Mbps and it was something good to have. Although, now that I have switched back to using an iPhone — they still don’t support 5G in India — I am back on 4G.

As highlighted on Airtel’s official website, its 5G Plus services are available in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur, Varanasi, Panipat, Gurugram and Guwahati.

Jio’s 5G services are available in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, Chennai, Pune and Nathdwara. Just to be clear, not entire cities have 5G coverage — be it Airtel or Jio. It means only specific areas within the cities have the connectivity option, mainly due to 5G infrastructure. We have already covered how to avail Airtel and Jio 5G services for free.

India Today Tech has reached out to Vi for more details about its 5G rollout. We will update the copy once we receive an input. India Today

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