With 5G said to bring drastic improvements in internet connectivity, Vodafone Idea (Vi) has been gearing up for its rollout for the past couple of months by exploring the network’s performance and capabilities in various use cases. By partnering with global leaders like Nokia and Ericsson, it has allowed the telco to deploy cutting-edge technologies into Vi’s 5G-ready network. That said, while the spectrum auction is yet to take place in the country, here’s what we know about Vi’s 5G speeds, trials, recharge plans and more.
Vi 5G launch date in India
There is no word on the Vi 5G launch date in India yet. However, if the industry reports are to be believed, the telco might begin the rollout a couple of months after the 5G spectrum auction, which is reportedly scheduled for May. This means that the Vi 5G services could be commercially available in India starting in August. For those unaware, Airtel 5G launch date in India is also expected around the same timeline. Jio, on the other hand, has said that it will be the first telco to launch 5G services in the country.
This goes in line with the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT) report citing that the 5G rollout will happen in 2022 itself starting with 13 cities across the country namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune.
Vi 5G plans
In order to capture a large portion of the market initially, 5G plans might not cost significantly higher than the current 4G tariffs as per Counterpoint Research Analyst Charu Paliwal. As far as Vi is concerned, the company might not price its 5G plans lower than its rivals such as Jio and Airtel. This is because if you look at current 4G tariffs, Vi’s plans are the costliest of the bunch and the same could be carried forward to its 5G plans.
Vi 5G SIM
Vi 5G SIMs have not been made available in the market and won’t be until the official launch of 5G in the country. Moreover, in the countries where 5G has already been announced, the service is available on all 4G LTE SIMs, which means there won’t be any need to upgrade to a 5G SIM to enjoy its benefits once it rolls out. That said, to use 5G you will need a compatible device and an active Vi 5G plan.
Vi 5G speed
Over the past couple of months, Vi has been 5G running trials behind the scenes in various parts of the country using the spectrums allotted by the DoT. During a trial run held in Pune, Vi claimed to achieve peak data speeds of 3.7 Gbps on the mmWave spectrum. While during trials in Gandhinagar using the 3.5 GHz band, Vi managed to gain speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps in an artificial 5G network. Although these claimed speeds are exceptionally faster than 4G, bear in mind that the actual speeds may vary when 5G services are made available for the end-users. This is simply because once people start utilising the 5G network the bandwidth has to be distributed among hundreds of people which may ultimately result in a drop in speeds. However, in most cases, 5G speeds will outclass the speeds of 4G and will deliver a much richer internet surfing experience.
“We are pleased with the speed and latency results in the initial stages of the 5G trials on the government-allocated 5G spectrum bands. Having established a robust 4G network pan-india, delivering the fastest 4G speeds, and a 5G-ready network, we are now testing the next-gen 5G technology to be able to bring a truly digital experience for enterprises and consumers in India, in the future,” said Jagbir Singh, CTO, Vodafone Idea Limited
Vi 5G trial
To be 5G ready as early as possible, Vi has been busy running trials and demonstrating the capabilities of its technology on the spectrum allocated by the government. In one of its trial sites i.e. Pune, Vi made use of Ericsson’s 5G solutions to test out various internet use cases in sectors of healthcare, education, smart agriculture and even cloud gaming.
Similarly, in Gandhinagar, Gujurat the telco player partnered with Nokia and used the technology leader’s AirScale radio portfolio and Microwave E-band solutions to test various consumer use cases such as AI-based VR streaming & gaming, 360 degrees VR content playback and 5G bases schooling. Furthermore, Vi also utilised Nokia’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) and 5G core to demonstrate network slicing which is a technology that service providers can use to divide a network into multiple streams for specific use cases allowing them to deliver internet at significantly faster speeds with low latency.
Vi has collaborated with the US-based telecom equipment maker Ciena. As claimed by Vi, this will allow them to deliver best-in-class connectivity in a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manner to customers across India. The telco has deployed Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme for high speed 300G/400G services that are upgradable to 800G as well. Furthermore, Vi is also partnering with local startups such as Vizzbee Robotics Solution and Tweek Labs to carry out tests for 5G-based solutions pertaining to aerial traffic management as well as motion capture system.
Vi 5G spectrum
For the trial phase and demonstration purposes, DoT has allocated Vi with 26 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum in the mmWave band. Vi has been able to achieve peak speeds of 1.5 Gbps on 3.5 GHz, more than 4.2 Gbps on 26 GHz and up to 9.8 Gbps on backhaul spectrum E-bands.
Vi 5G news
Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) successfully demonstrates 5G Voice over New Radio (VoNR) with Nokia (February 16th)
Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) has announced that it has successfully demonstrated 5G Voice over New Radio (VoNR) with its technology partner, Nokia in the ongoing trials being held in Gandhinagar, Gujurat. Vi claims that once this service rolls out, it will enable high-definition voice calling experiences over 5G as well as several advanced voice applications and use cases in the future.