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Apple has started rolling out the update that will make its iPhones support 5G connectivity in India to the company’s beta software platforms. The update has been expected for a while now, and Apple confirmed that it has started rolling out the iOS 16 Beta Software Program today. The company is expected to start full-scale rollout of 5G connectivity on iPhones from December this year, according to a statement from Apple last month.

5G connectivity on iPhones will work on the iPhone 14 series, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 and the iPhone SE (3rd Gen), among others. The company’s devices will support 5G connectivity from both Airtel and Reliance Jio.

At the moment, the company’s 5G software will be available as part of the beta programme for iOS 16.2. Users will have to sign up for the company’s beta program for the same, which gives them access to the beta version of iOS. Be warned, though, that beta software can have other bugs and glitches, so it’s better not to use such software on one’s primary device(s).

Anyone with a valid Apple ID and an iPhone can sign up for the iOS 16.2 Beta Program, access 5G on iPhones, and share their feedback using the Feedback Assistant app. Users who want to sign up now just to access the 5G services can still join in with their Apple ID.

The stable version of iOS 16.2 is expected to release sometime in the middle of December, which means the 5G software will also be released around the same time. A typical beta program for an annual software update lasts several months. For instance, iOS 16’s public beta was released in July and the stable version was released in September. Beta users had three months to provide their feedback. In the case of an incremental update like the iOS 16.2, which will add a handful of new features including 5G support in India, the duration till the final release is typically a month.

Both Airtel and Reliance Jio rolled out 5G services last month, however, many users in India couldn’t access 5G on their compatible smartphones including iPhones. According to experts, even a 5G-ready smartphone requires a software update to remove the lock on the 5G frequency bands on which 5G services are being offered in India.

After pressure from the Department of Telecom (DoT) and MeitY last month, leading smartphone brands announced that they were working on the update. Oppo and Xiaomi have already rolled out updates on several 5G models. Samsung had promised to roll out the update by mid-November.

“We are working with our carrier partners in India to bring the best 5G experience to iPhone users as soon as network validation and testing for quality and performance is completed. 5G will be enabled via a software update and will start rolling out to iPhone users in December," Apple said in a statement in October.

Telcos in India have acquired licenses to offer 5G services in multiple bands. Airtel has 5G licenses for 900 MHz (n8), 1800 MHz (n3), 2100MHz (n1), 3300-3800 MHz (n78), and 26 GHz (n258) bands. Jio has licenses for the n28 (700 MHz), n78, and n258 bands. Vodafone-Idea has licenses for the n78 and n258 bands. Most 5G smartphones available in India including the iPhones support these bands.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Updated: 11 Nov 2022, 02:00 PM IST
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