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Does buying 5G capable phone in 2020 make sense?

Question asked by Kaustubh Katdare in #Gadgets on Jan 14, 2020
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jan 14, 2020
Rank A1 - PRO

Top mobile companies are readying their phones with 5G capabilities. 5G does offer lot of promise, but its not available everywhere. The companies might just want to showcase their 5G readiness, but do you think buying a 5G capable phone in 2020 make sense?

Posted in: #Gadgets
Anoop Mathew
Anoop Mathew · Jan 14, 2020
Rank A3 - PRO

If the telecom infrastructure in the country gets ready by then, and the prices of Internet Connectivity are reasonable, then opting for a 5G phone would be a great idea. 

There're again two ways I would handle this:-

Scenario 1:

If I already have a decent smartphone giving decent 4G LTE speeds and has the inbuilt tech to accept signals that telecom spectrum in India should cover from all of the major 4G LTE Telecos, I wouldn't buy a 5G phone in India atleast in the first half of the year 2020.

Scenario 2:

If I didn't have a decent smartphone providing all the above specs, I would consider getting a 5G phone in the first half of 2020 in India owing to various factors such as the possibility of not getting a good resale value on the 4G enabled phone were 5G to be a success.

P.S.: DCC clears Rs 5.22 lakh cr spectrum sale plan; auction in March-April

TRAI papers related to Spectrum allocation in India can be found here:-

Spectrum

More Info on Telecommunication in India:-

Telecommunications in India

P.P.S: Also refer to 'National Frequency Allocation Plan' of Department of Telecom if you want some details.

Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jan 14, 2020
Rank A1 - PRO

Good points. The sale of spectrum has been announced but the actual 5G implementation isn't likely to start til the end of 2020; if we really look forward to speedy implementation. My acquaintances who work at Reliance told me that Jio will be the frontrunner in implementing 5G in India because they have the infrastructure. 

BSNL and Airtel already are working on 5G; but there is no concrete news on the development. The 5G phones are all premium and only those who plan to retain it for at least 3-4 years are going to actually benefit from 5G. 

My guess is that if you are going for a premium phone - 5G capability makes sense. If you are the types that changes phone every few months or every year - then 5G does not make sense right now. 

Ashraf HZ
Ashraf HZ · Jan 15, 2020
Rank A2 - PRO

I suppose the they are targeting early adopters - those willing to spend some amount to get the latest experience or require the 5G features for specific reasons. Those 5G phones will be obsolete really quickly once more device manufactures come up with better and cheaper components based from early deployments. For the mainstream, probably can wait until 2021 on wards.

Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jan 16, 2020
Rank A1 - PRO

Yeah, early adopters are being targeted. My biggest issue with 5G is the range that it offers per tower. I've heard that it won't offer 5G speeds beyond 100 meters from the tower. If that's the case, even 5G phone users won't be able to use it effectively.

Abhishek Rawal
Abhishek Rawal · Jan 16, 2020
Rank A2 - PRO

That's not right, Kaustubh. 5G spectrum is quite different than its predecessors. The 5G spectrum falls in 3 main category, however for simplicity I will merge the first two and consider it two categories.

1. Sub 6 GHz spectrum (Low and Mid band) : Low band provides wider range and good signal penetration. Mid band provide better throughput and lesser latency. For India, Sub 6 GHz spectrum is 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz.
2. Above 6 GHz spectrum (High band) : This is the band where you'll receive very high throughput in few Gbps and the ~1ms latency. This band will transmit mm waves. To be capable to use this BW, both cell and mobile device shall incorporate new antenna technology. For India, the range is 24.5 GHz to 29.5 GHz.

Most of the development currently is done in Radio (5G NR) as of now. There is least or no development going on OSS/BSS part, just because even tier-1 operators are unaware of the use-cases 5G is capable to provide. Though in 3GPP papers, it shows major industry shift and the use-cases 5G could provide in eMMB, URLLC, FWA and MMC.

Note : 5G spectrum also includes unlicensed spectrum.

Coming to question, does 5G capable device makes sense. Yes, it does.
But even tier 1 operators like Jio will have hard time here as all the nodes are shifting from traditional bare-metal / hardware solutions to virtualized solutions (NFV/SDN). Though in longer run it will provide vast benefits when it comes to operations and decommissioning of unwanted nodes.

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