Jio provides a standalone (SA) 5G network while Airtel’s is a non-standalone (NSA) network

Why you don’t have 5G on your phone

Although the rollout of 5G networks has started in India, phone users are wondering why their 5G-enabled smartphones cannot access these new networks. Mint explains the reasons for the delay and what measures mobile device manufacturers are taking to accelerate adoption.

What is the status of 5G networks in India?

5G services may have only launched in India less than two weeks ago, but smartphone makers have been advertising “5G support” on the smartphone devices they’ve been selling for over a year. For example, smartphone maker Xiaomi said it shipped more than 7 million 5G phones in India between May 2020 and June 2022. However, a 5G-ready phone is not necessarily ready to access these networks. This means that the phone has the necessary hardware needed to connect to a 5G network, but the smartphone manufacturer may need to provide it with the appropriate software updates to connect to those networks.

What is the software barrier to 5G adoption?

You may have noticed that smartphones tend to drain their battery faster in areas with poor cellular networks. This is because devices are designed to constantly search for a network and connect whenever possible. So turning on 5G on a phone when no network is available could drain the battery, which is one of the main reasons phone makers disabled it at launch. This is commonly referred to as a “software lock” which basically tells the phone not to search for a 5G network and only connect to 4G networks. This is why the iPhone’s connection settings currently only show 3G and LTE.

When will smartphones get 5G

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When will smartphones get 5G

What can I expect from 5G on my phone?

Unfortunately, there shouldn’t be a significant change except for the fact that the 5G option will appear in your smartphone’s connection settings. The significant benefits of 5G are still for businesses and enterprises, and although bandwidth and speeds will increase, the difference is unlikely to be noticeable to users.

Did this happen when we switched to 4G?

No. The move changed the entire network architecture on the telco side, which meant phones also needed new hardware. However, 5G uses a similar system to LTE, so the change is smaller on the phone side as well. 5G networks are backwards compatible, meaning a 4G phone can still connect to such networks. While 4G phones became ubiquitous much earlier than 4G networks, in the 5G era phones should start supporting networks much earlier than networks are readily available.

Is the update same for Jio and Airtel?

Inaccurately. Jio provides a standalone (SA) 5G network while Airtel’s is a non-standalone (NSA) network. NSA networks are those where only the part that connects the infrared core network to endpoints is updated to 5G. In SA, the kernel is also updated to allow more 5G applications to run. Mint reported on September 12 that most 5G phones in India already support NSA networks. Even Airtel is expected to move to SA network in the long run and many advanced enterprise use cases will require telcos to operate SA networks.

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