Samsung and Apple will upgrade the software for their 5G-enabled phones in India in November-December as the government pushes smartphone makers to roll out faster to high-speed networks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services with much fanfare on October 1, with major telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio outlining plans for a rollout of services in select cities.
But most users in those select cities are yet to get 5G services, due to poor networks and delays by smartphone companies in pushing required software patches over-the-air.
With 5G not only enabling faster internet, but also promising to spur faster economic growth and job creation, the government wants companies to crack down now. And many companies are starting to line up.
Apple said in a statement that it will begin rolling out the 5G software update for iPhone users in December. The upgrade will cover models including the iPhone 14, 13, 12 and iPhone SE.
Apple said, “5G will be enabled through a software update and will begin rolling out to iPhone users in December.”
Apple said it is working with carrier partners in India to provide iPhone users with the best possible 5G experience, as soon as network validation and testing for quality and performance are completed.
Korean handset maker Samsung on Wednesday committed to rolling out over-the-air updates to all its 5G devices by mid-November to help Indian consumers enjoy a seamless experience of high-speed services.
A Samsung India spokesperson said, “We are working closely with our operator partners and are committed to rolling out OTA updates to all our 5G devices by mid-November 2022 to provide a seamless 5G experience to Indian consumers. “
The spokesperson said Samsung has pioneered 5G technology development since 2009 and has taken a leading role in standardizing 5G technology globally.
“Samsung has the largest portfolio of 5G devices in India,” the spokesperson said.
Behind the scenes, telecom operators explicitly blame handset makers for delays in rolling out critical software updates and patches, arguing that frequency and spectrum auctions and allocation deadlines are already in place for smartphone players. was clearly evident.
However, handset makers argue that the 5G network itself is not widely available, and that joint testing between telcos and smartphone companies is necessary for a smoother consumer experience.
Millions of customers in India have 5G-ready phones but are unable to access services satisfactorily, senior officials of the Department of Telecommunications and the IT ministry said on Wednesday with smartphone companies and telecom operators providing easy access to 5G. held a meeting to resolve the issues. Services.
Sources said handset makers were strongly told to prioritize the rollout of software patches, though they have not been given a specific time frame. Sources said that another meeting of operators and smartphone companies with their respective associations will be held in two weeks.
Bharti Airtel is the only company to have commercially launched 5G services while Jio has started beta testing.
Bharti Airtel has rolled out 5G in eight cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi, while Jio has started beta testing in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.
5G services will progressively cover the entire country over the next few years – Jio has promised to do so by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024.
According to an Ericsson report, in the last two years, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of smartphone users in India who own a 5G handset.
The study shows that more than 100 million users with 5G-ready smartphones are looking to upgrade to a 5G subscription in 2023, while more than half of them are ready to upgrade to a higher data tier plan in the next 12 months.
For 5G services, smartphone makers are required to push a software update to enable high-speed services on most phones. This is despite the fact that 5G smartphones are being sold in the country for some time now.
According to industry sources, the primary reason for this is that the frequency bands that support 5G were not available. And now, OEMs need to release an update to enable and optimize radio frequencies for 5G. Some phones may require a change in the Settings section to enable 5G. There are more than 128 models of 5G phones available in the market.