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Govt to prod telcos, phone cos for early 5G adoption

DoT secretary K. Rajaraman and Meity secretary Alkesh Sharma will attend the meeting. (MINT_PRINT)Premium
DoT secretary K. Rajaraman and Meity secretary Alkesh Sharma will attend the meeting. (MINT_PRINT)

Officials from the department of telecom (DoT) and the ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) will meet nearly 30 executives from telecom services providers Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, as well as smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung and Oppo.

NEW DELHI : Top government officials will meet executives from telecom networks and handset makers on Thursday to push for early adoption of 5G in India, a notice issued to companies showed.

Officials from the department of telecom (DoT) and the ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) will meet nearly 30 executives from telecom services providers Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, as well as smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung and Oppo.

The DoT notice said the government is seeking the involvement of telcos and phone makers to release firmware upgrades needed for 5G devices to connect to 5G networks. The meeting will also simultaneously discuss telcos enabling handsets to be ready for 5G services on both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) networks. The notice was issued to 20 organizations, including Indian and Chinese handset makers operating in India. Mint has seen a copy of the notice.

The stakeholders will also discuss solutions to prioritize the software upgrade for the early adoption of 5G in India. DoT secretary K. Rajaraman and Meity secretary Alkesh Sharma will attend the meeting.

Jio and Airtel launched 5G services in eight and four cities, respectively, this month, top metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. However, many 5G phone users cannot access these services since the phone makers are yet to release the necessary software upgrades. Some users with the latest iPhone 14 models costing over 1 lakh highlighted the issue on Twitter, pointing out that cheaper Android phones could latch on to 5G networks and use high-speed data.

An Airtel executive said Apple would have to issue a software upgrade to enable models below the iPhone 14 so that customers can use 5G as and when the carrier rolls out its services. He said such upgrades were driven by the handset makers. “Apple is also doing final testing; we’re working with them," the executive said.

Experts are expecting swift uptake of 5G services. According to research by Ookla, 51% of survey respondents had phones supporting 5G. “While only one in 10 respondents had an iPhone, Apple phones tend to be more 5G capable. According to Speedtest Intelligence data, iPhone 12 5G is the most popular 5G-capable device," the report stated. The survey found top phone vendors are Samsung (31%), followed by Xiaomi (23%), Realme and Vivo.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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