Samsung and Apple For Faster 5G Software Updates In Phones
India’s government has urged Samsung, Apple, as well as other mobile phone manufacturers, to prioritize software updates for 5G support. These moves are being made amid fears that some models might not be compatible with the new high-speed service.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in October amid much fanfare. Reliance Jio, a major telecom operator, stated that it would make the service available in four cities, and BhartiAirtel in eight. Both companies indicated that the service would be extended in the next year.
Airtel’s website, and three industry sources, indicate that Apple’s iPhone models (including its latest iPhone 14), and many top Samsung phones do not have compatible software for Indian 5G support.
According to a document provided by the Indian government, top officials from India’s IT and telecoms offices will be leading a meeting Wednesday to promote early 5G adoption. They will invite smartphone executives from Vivo, Samsung and Vivo as well as domestic operators Reliance Airtel and Vodafone Idea to join them.
According to the notice the agenda will include talks to “prioritize” software upgrades that will allow for high-speed networks.
Apple Inc. and Vivo, Vivo and Samsung Electronics did not respond to our request for comment. The government’s IT and telecom departments also failed to respond.
India claims 5G will launch in India’s largest mobile markets, following China, to provide high-speed internet access for its customers and also offer socio-economic benefits to sectors like agriculture, health, and food production.
India’s largest mobile operator Jio bought $11 billion worth airwaves during August’s $19 Billion 5G spectrum auction. Vodafone spent more than $2B, while Airtel spent more than $5B.
According to one industry source, while both telecom companies and smartphone players are in touch, compatibility issues between Indian telecom companies and 5G technology is still being resolved.
Airtel’s Tuesday website revealed that Apple has not yet updated its software for 12-14 iPhone models under its 5G compatible Section. Airtel stated that not all models for Samsung had been updated. Airtel stated that more than three-dozen models were available from Vivo and Xiaomi in China for the 5G service.
“Apple has been slowing down for quite some time. Airtel is worried because many of their premium customers use Apple devices,” said a second industry source with direct knowledge of the matter. He said that Apple and Airtel had been in discussions.
A third source claims that Apple is currently validating different 5G offerings from Indian network operators.
Users are already frustrated by the inability to update 5G software.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of SoftBank-backed Indian digital payments firm Paytm, tweeted Sunday that he had purchased a Google Pixel 6a smartphone for 5G use but that the option was not available in New Delhi. He requested a software upgrade from Google in a subsequent tweet.
Mudit Mathur (a Twitter user) responded by posting screenshots from his conversations with Google Support. According to Google, Indian telecom companies are working together to enable 5G functionality for their phones “as quickly as possible” with a December timeline.