India finally kicked off the 5G spectrum auctions this Tuesday on 26th July, 2022. The auction is currently in progress with India’s major telecom providers – Reliance Jio, Airtel, Idea-Vodafone, and the new entrant, Adani Data Networks — aggressively participating in the 5G bidding. Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister for Electronics & IT in India, said that bids worth Rs 1.49 lakhs have been received so far. While spectrum bidding and allocation is underway, let’s learn about 5G bands supported in India. This will help you understand whether your 5G smartphone will be compatible with the 5G bands in India. On that note, let’s begin.
5G Bands in India: Explained (2022)
In this article, we have added all the supported 5G bands in India, including the low-band, mid-band, and top-tier mmWave frequencies. You can also find the list of supported 5G bands in a tabular format below.
What 5G Bands are Supported in India?
The 5G auction is currently ongoing in India, and it will last until August 14, 2022. However, some key information regarding 5G bands is already in the public domain. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has floated the sale of these 5G frequency bands: 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300MHz, 3,500 MHz, and 26 GHz.
As you can notice, radio bands from all categories — be it low-band, mid-band, or high-band (mmWave) — are all available. If you want to learn about different types of 5G bands (sub-6GHz vs mmWave), head over to our linked explainer.
Among the auctioned frequency bands, there are two 5G bands that telecom giants are most interested in: the low-band 700MHz (n28) and mid-band 3500MHz (n78). The n78 (3300-3800MHz) spectrum is a popular 5G frequency band to deliver sub-6GHz 5G services to the masses. It comes under the mid-band category and can deliver speeds close to 1Gbps. Sure, it’s not as fast as the mmWave 5G, but it’s cost-effective, works over a larger range, and is accessible across the world.
Not to mention, 5G phones from Apple and Samsung to Xiaomi, Realme, etc., all come with the n78 5G band support. So yeah, the n78 5G band is supported in India. Even the original OnePlus Nord, which supports one 5G band, supports the n78 5G band. So yeah, you will also be able to enjoy 5G services when they launch in India. According to some reports, a good tranche of 3.5GHz airwaves has been bought by both Jio and Airtel.
Apart from that, telcos are aggressively bidding for the low-band 700MHz frequency as it’s being touted to bring 5G to both remote and dense areas. The 700MHz frequency band can easily penetrate walls and buildings and can extend the 5G coverage area significantly. It’s also twice as efficient as 900MHz and much cheaper than the 1800MHz frequency band, which is usually used in rural areas to extend the coverage.
In addition, the 700MHz can be used to deliver true standalone 5G (SA 5G), but it will require the telecom operators to upgrade their whole network gear. Nevertheless, the n28 frequency is another 5G band that will be supported in India by almost all the telecom companies and smartphones.
Finally, Adani Data Networks and Jio are showing great interest in the ultra-fast mmWave 5G band, specifically the n258 band, also known as the 26GHz (24.25 – 27.5 GHz) frequency band. This is an elite, ultra-low latency 5G band that promises speeds up to 10Gbps.
At this point, you might be wondering what Adani’s 5G plans look like? Analysts suggest that Adani Data Networks might deliver its true 5G services to enterprises, building a superfast indoor network. Apart from that, the n41 (2.5GHz), n77 (3300 – 4200MHz), and the n79 (4400 – 5000MHz) 5G bands are also making a buzz in the mid-band 5G segment. It has merely been two days since the 5G auction started, so we are expecting more sub-6GHz 5G bands to be sold in the coming days. Stay tuned for more updates on this front as we will be updating this article once the 5G auction comes to a close.
List of Supported 5G Bands in India (August 2022)
Here is a list of all supported 5G bands in India. It’s not an exhaustive list, but as we get more information from the 5G spectrum bidding, we will keep updating this list.
|3300 – 3800MHz||n78|
|3300 – 4200MHz||n77|
|4400 – 5000MHz||n79|
|26GHz (24.25 - 27.5 GHz)||n258|
5G Network Release Timeline in India
After the first day of the 5G spectrum auction in India, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the bidding of the 5G spectrum will be completed by August 14. That means it’s likely that Prime Minister Modi will announce the initial launch of 5G services on August 15, in line with recent speculations.
After that, somewhere between September and October later this year, 5G services will be rolled out to consumers in pilot testing stage. Additionally, 5G services will be initially offered in 13 Indian cities, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gurugram, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune.
So yeah, by the end of October, one of the telcos – be it Airtel, Reliance Jio, or Vodafone Idea (Vi) – will start offering sub-6GHz 5G services to consumers in Indian cities. However, the full-fledged rollout of 5G services in India will take some time and the network will be ready to deploy by March 2023, as revealed by Vaishnaw at the Viva Technology 2022 event.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When will the 5G auction end in India?
The 2022 5G spectrum auction in India will continue till August 14. Following that, the spectrums will be allocated to telecom providers for testing and final rollout.
When will 5G arrive in India?
According to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, initial testing of 5G services will happen around September or October in India. However, the full-fledged rollout of 5G services is expected to begin as early as March 2023.
What are the supported 5G bands in India?
Some of the supported 5G bands in India are n78, n77, n28, and n41. For a complete list, read our article to learn about the compatible 5G frequencies and bands in the country.
Is mmWave 5G coming to India?
Yes, the Indian government is auctioning spectrum for the 26GHz (n258) frequency band, which offers unparalleled speed and almost zero latency. Both Jio and Adani Data Networks have shown keen interest in buying the top-tier spectrum.
What 5G bands should I look for in a smartphone in India?
If you have a budget phone, you should check whether the smartphone supports n78, n77, n41, and n28 5G bands. This should offer a good 5G network experience in India. For flagship devices, having support for the mmWave n258 5G band would be awesome. That said, keep in mind that Apple and Samsung currently don’t offer mmWave 5G band support on their flagship smartphones in India. Perhaps after the 5G rollout, things may change.
5G Bands of Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea & Adani in India
So that’s everything you need to know about all supported 5G frequency bands in India. As we mentioned above, the auction is currently in progress, and the situation of the spectrum allocation will be clear by mid-August. Having said that, we have a broad idea about what major 5G bands will be supported in India, and it seems like mid-tier 5G bands will be launched first in some Indian cities later this year. Anyway, that is all from us. If you want to learn more about 5G development in India, head over to our linked article. And if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.