After witnessing the great 4G disruption in the telecom space, India is now gearing up to become a 5G-ready nation with telcos and witness the same intense wars amongst the telcos to offer the fastest and widest reach of their 5G services for the masses.
India that currently has about 400 million users on 2G network, aims to become a full 5G-ready nation within 2 to 3 years at “affordable” prices. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio aims to achieve pan-India coverage by December 2023 while Airtel targets 5G pan India coverage by 2024. Both the companies have informed that users with 4G connectivity SIM will not have to purchase a new SIM for 5G connectivity as their SIM cards will automatically connect to the 5G network.
While all the four leading telcos—Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea and BSNL—are working towards this goal of 5G-ready nation, Airtel and Jio are currently the two companies leading the pack. Airtel today announced the availability of its 5G services in Patna whereas Jio recently said that it’s 5G services are now live in Pune. Both the companies are aggressively working towards reaching their set goal of 5G expansion. Here is a close comparison of the current 5G status of the two companies to help you understand where does India stand in terms of 5G availability and how long can it take for a pan-India coverage.
Jio 5G Stand Alone(SA) 5G Vs Airtel Non Stand Alone(NSA)5G services: Reliance Jio is offering standalone 5G services which is said to be the latest form of 5G. The standlone 5G architecture is based on an end-to-end core 5G network built from scratch. The equipment and network functions used in this model are built keeping 5G specifications in mind.
While Jio is delivering SA version of 5G, Airtel is offering standalone version of 5G. It offers 5G radio signal using the existing 4G LTE core. NSA is essentially built over an existing 4G network.
Jio 5G availability Vs Airtel 5G availability: Airtel 5G is now available in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur, Varanasi, Panipat, Gurugram, Patna and Guwahati. The company has said that it will be bringing 5G services to all other metro cities by the end of 2023.
Jio 5G is currently available in Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Mumbai, Varanasi, Nathdwara (in Rajasthan), Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. The telco has announced that the 5G service is available in 33 district headquarters in the state of Gujarat. It has also been said that 5G services will roll out in the entirety of Kolkata before the end of December.