In a move to push 5G adoption across smartphone brands, the Union government plans to issues directives to top brands including Apple, Samsung and other mobile phone manufacturers to focus on rolling out software upgrades to support 5G in the country.
This comes amid reports that many smartphone models were not ready for the recently launched high-speed service. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services amid much fanfare, with leading telecom operator Reliance Jio saying it would make the service available in four cities and rival Bharti Airtel in eight. Both companies said the service would be expanded next year.
At present Apple's iPhone models, including the latest iPhone 14, and many of Samsung's premier phones do not have software compatible for supporting 5G in India. Concerned over this, the telecom and IT departments has called a meeting to chalk out a plan to fast track 5G adoption.
Top smartphone brand executives from foreign companies including Apple, Samsung, Vivo and Xiaomi as well as domestic telecom operators Reliance, Airtel and Vodafone Idea will be present in this meeting.
The agenda includes holding talks ‘to prioritise' and release software upgrades for supporting the high-speed network, the notice for the closed-door meeting stated.
Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics, Vivo, Xiaomi Corp, as well as the three domestic telecom operators, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The government's IT and telecom departments also did not respond.
India has said that launch of 5G in the world's biggest mobile market – after China – will bring high-speed internet to consumers, with simultaneous socio-economic benefits in sectors like agriculture and health.
In August, Jio, India's biggest mobile carrier with more than 420 million customers, snapped up airwaves worth $11 billion in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction. Airtel spent more than $5 billion, while Vodafone doled out above $2 billion.
While telecom players and smartphone companies have been holding discussions with each other, ironing out compatibility issues between the specific 5G technology of telecom companies in India and phone software is taking time, one of the industry sources said.
Airtel's website on Tuesday showed “Apple yet to update software” for all of Apple iPhones' 12 to 14 models under its 5G compatible section. For Samsung too, many models were not ready, Airtel stated, while more than three dozen models of China's Xiaomi and Vivo were shown as ready for use with its 5G service.