The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) announced on Monday that Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Pune will be the first cities to receive 5G services next year (December 27).

DoT had solicited opinion from telcos and industry experts on the sale and usage of radio frequency spectrum over the next ten years, including the 5G bands, at the start of this year.

What is 5G technology and how does it vary from previous generations?

The fifth generation (or 5G) of long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks is the most recent upgrade. 5G primarily operates across three bands: low, mid, and high frequency spectrums, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

While the low band spectrum has showed significant potential in terms of Internet coverage and data transfer speed, the maximum speed is just 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).

This means that, while telcos can use and install it for commercial mobile users who don't have high-speed Internet needs, the low band spectrum may not be ideal for the industry's specialised needs.

The mid-band spectrum, on the other hand, provides faster speeds than the low-band spectrum, but it has restrictions in terms of coverage area and signal penetration.

Industry and specialised factory units may use this band to establish captive networks that can be moulded to the needs of that particular industry, according to telcos and companies that have taken the lead on 5G.

The high-band spectrum has the fastest speed of all three bands, but it also has the smallest coverage and signal penetration strength. Internet speeds in the 5G high-band spectrum have been tested to reach 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), although the greatest internet data speed in 4G has been reported at 1 Gbps in most circumstances.

In the race for 5G technologies, where does India stand?

India, like other global players, had expected to launch 5G services as soon as practicable in 2018. India, like other global players, had intended to launch 5G services as soon as feasible in 2018, in order to take advantage of the improved network speeds and strength that the technology offered.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, and Vi have all urged the Department of Transportation to lay out a clear road map for spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands so that they can plan their service rollouts properly. One major stumbling block is that at least two of the three players, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, are cash-strapped and lack appropriate capital.

Reliance Jio, on the other hand, is claimed to have a complete end-to-end 5G solution that is ready for deployment.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, and on the other side, Reliance Jio is claimed to have a complete end-to-end 5G solution ready for deployment once the networks are in place. Other telecommunications companies can use this technology as a fully managed service.

What is the status of 5G globally?

More than governments, multinational telecommunications corporations have begun to create 5G networks and test them out with their customers. Companies like AT&T, T-mobile, and Verizon have taken the lead in bringing commercial 5G to their customers in countries like the United States.