Commenced on August 1, the first 5G auction in India wrapped up and was considered a success for the country. The auction raised over Rs 1.5 lakh crore and as expected, the highest bidder in the auction was Reliance Jio, with a capex of Rs 88,078 crore. It was followed by Airtel, VI (Vodafone Idea), and Adani Enterprises.
What was interesting to see at this auction was that the 700 MHz band, which is a sub-GHz band, was the hottest topic of the auction. This is unlike what we saw in previous years, where the band was left unsold.
As you’d expect, Reliance Jio has now acquired this sub-GHz band by bidding the most. And that may not be a piece of great news for other telcos such as Bharti Airtel and VI. In fact, some analysts predict that other telcos such as Bharti Airtel may lose 2 to 3 percent market share because of not acquiring this sub-GHz (700MHz) band.
But why is the 700MHz band this important and how it may change your daily life in the near future? Let’s take a look.
What’s the significance of 700MHz band and how it will benefit you?
The 700MHz band is a sub-GHz band (basically under 1GHz) which Reliance Jio has acquired along with C-band. That said, only Jio has the 700MHz band for its 5G connectivity and no other telecom has it, at the moment.
And if others, let’s say Airtel plan to bid for it in the next auction, it may have to pay a lot more. Other telecom operators also have sub-GHz bands across 800 Mhz and 900MHz, but these are developed for 4G and 2G connectivity.
That puts Reliance in the monopoly for offering 5G in the sub-GHz band. Now, a sub-GHz band is said to be more profitable for a company than a GHz band, if we consider benefits in the long run.
Unlike a GHz band, which offers faster Internet but has lower coverage, a sub-GHz band (700MHz for example) will offer better coverage but the speeds won’t be super fast.
This in some way is beneficial for both the company as well as for the users, here’s how.
As per analysts, Reliance will benefit from having a sub-GHz band in its 5G network, as it may gain 2 to 3 percent market share. This is mainly because a sub-GHz band will provide a better indoor signal. Despite having lower coverage, Reliance Jio may see increased market share thanks to the signal coverage that this 700MHz band will offer in urban regions like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, and Kolkata.
Also, in these metro cities, you can expect better and stable coverage at your home or in other dense places.
Furthermore, One of the other benefits the 700MHz band will bring is that it will help Jio offer 5G services even in rural areas, that too at a cheaper price. Unlike other bands, which have faster 5G speeds but cover a limited area, the sub-GHz band, which in this case is 700MHz will offer better coverage and just as fast speeds as required in rural areas.
Assuming that in rural areas, people want stable Internet, 5G, which is said to offer download speeds up to 300 Mbps (as per Qualcomm) could be sufficient. Also, since Jio doesn’t have to do any other workarounds to offer 5G at this band, the 5G services are likely to be cheaper. All that would benefit customers in rural areas.
When 5G services roll out this year, those will be 5G NSA (Non-Standalone), which will make use of the existing infrastructure of 4G. But 5G SA (Standalone), which will be based on new infrastructure for the 5G services itself, will start rolling out soon.
Reliance Jio will be able to use the 700MHz 5G spectrum to offer 5G SA services in two to three years. This will likely be early than others and will provide a market share gain to Jio. Reliance Jio acquired a total of 220 Mhz of 5G in the 700MHz spectrum. This will be divided across all major regions of India.
As for consumers, we can expect better 5G SA services sooner. So if you are a Jio user, that’s great news for you.
To wrap things up, thanks to the 700MHz band, you can get better network coverage, a better indoor 5G network, and get decent speeds at cheaper rates. Speaking of rates, 5G won’t be expensive as it is said to be. The prices are said to be similar to the existing 4G plans in India.
Reliance Jio and Airtel are said to roll out 5G services as early this year in India. In fact, Jio might be the first one to offer 5G services as rumors suggest an Independence day release.
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