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What is 5G and what does it mean for iPhone users in India?

5G services are about to kickstart soon in India. But which iPhone have 5G and which doesn't? Let's find out.

Apple iPhones that can support the new network include the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 series alongside the second-generation iPhone SE. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday officially launched 5G services on the opening day of the India Mobile Congress in New Delhi. All three major Indian telecom operators – Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vi – are geared up to offer 5G service in the county and have set different timelines to scale out the rollout nationwide. Getting 5G to consumers first requires a handset compatible with 5G networks and if you are wondering whether your Apple iPhone will support mobile 5G service once it’s up and running in your city, we are here to help.

Here’s everything you need to know which iPhones have 5G and how this next-generation wireless technology will change your smartphone experience.

What is 5G, anyway?

5G, the next generation of wireless technology, promises to offer faster speeds, faster connections and faster access to the cloud. Which is why 5G is touted as the lifeblood of the digital Indian economy. Once telecom operators start rolling out 5G services in India, you will notice a speedier connection on your phone – up to 100 times faster than what you currently getting on 4G. Think about downloading a full HD-quality movie in 3 seconds. But this is largely theoretical 5G performance, far from what you actually get in the real world.

There are three types of radio signals to deliver cellular service to 5G smartphones: low, mid, and high band frequencies. High-band spectrum, also known as millimeter wave, has the highest speeds and greatest bandwidth but the shortest range. Low-band has a longer range but lacks in speed. Midband is considered the sweet spot in terms of range and speed. Midband 5G, also called “sub-6GHz”, is what telecom operators will use to bring 5G services to millions of Indians.

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But 5G is about more than just smartphones. Experts say 5G will unlock new possibilities and will drive new experiences. Self-driving cars, virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud gaming and smart cities are a few use cases of 5G.

Which iPhones support 5G?

Virtually all new iPhones available in India today support 5G. The iPhone 12 was the first 5G iPhone and every new iPhone launched since then does support the next-generation wireless technology. That means the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 mini. They all come with 5G as standard. The entire iPhone 13 range- the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max come with 5G. The latest iPhone 14 models also support 5G cellular connectivity. Even the iPhone SE 2 come with 5G. Keep in mind that no iPhones launched before the iPhone 12 range support 5G, and that includes the iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone 11 series. Outside the US, the iPhone models support the sub-6GHz frequencies.

Avoid buying used older iPhone models like the iPhone XR as they lack 5G support. (Express Photo)

What do 5G-enabled iPhones cost in India?

The latest iPhone 14 starts at Rs 79,900, while the iPhone 14 Plus retails for Rs 89,900. The higher-end iPhone 14 Pro starts at Rs 129,900 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at Rs 139,900. In comparison, the iPhone 13 now starts at Rs 69,900 for the base 128GB version. The iPhone 12 is also listed on the Apple website for a price of Rs 59,900. Just remember that the iPhone price varies depending on where you buy the device and what time of the year.

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Why do you need a 5G iPhone?

So if you are making a choice to buy a new iPhone this year, buying a 5G phone makes sense because it will ‘future-proof’ you until you plan to replace that device. Even if a 5G iPhone is costing you more than what you originally paid for the previous model, it’s worth considering having a 5G capable handset. No matter whether you choose a new iPhone or settle for a second-hand iPhone, you should get one with 5G connectivity.

The iPhone 12 was the first iPhone to support 5G. (Express photo)

Where can I get 5G service on my iPhone?

In India, Reliance Jio, Airel and Vi will offer 5G services. Reliance Jio plans to offer 5G services in a phased-out manner. As part of the first phase, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai will get 5G services by Diwali. The operator said it will continue expanding its 5G coverage footprint gradually. Airtel’s 5G services, on the other hand, will be available in eight cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Bengaluru. The company will cover most major cities by March 2023 and the entire country by March 2024.

How much do I need to pay for 5G services on my iPhone?

As of now, no telecom operator in India has revealed 5G traffic plans. With operators investing huge amounts in creating infrastructure, they will need to launch 5G services at the right price. Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently said that the government will ensure that the 5G plans remain affordable for the public. As one would expect, 5G tariffs are expected to be more expensive than 4G. 

First published on: 02-10-2022 at 12:00:50 pm
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