5G in India: Jio vs Airtel, Speeds, and the Biggest Questions — Answered

5G has been around for a couple of months in India, with the major telecom operators racing to deploy their 5G networks across the country. Reliance Jio and Airtel are currently leading that race in terms of offering 5G connectivity in the country. However, the reception to 5G has been mixed in these early stages. Some of that has been due to the nature of the support from manufacturers. While the likes of Samsung and Oppo first rolled out Android updates to enable 5G compatibility on their smartphones, Apple took nearly two months to announce official 5G support in India, with the release of iOS 16.2 earlier this week.

On this week's episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, host Akhil Arora talks to Senior Reviewer Ali Pardiwala, Producer Aditya Nath Jha, and Senior Sub-Editor Siddhant Chandra — that's me — to discuss the 5G experience in India during these early stages of deployment.

The discussion kicks off with the 5G setup process, with Chandra and Pardiwala pointing out that you need an invite to the Jio True 5G Welcome Offer in order to get 5G on your phone. So even if your device manufacturer had given you an update in time, you're out of luck if you don't have an invite. As has been the case for Pardiwala.

Jha went through something similar — while he's been using Airtel 5G for nearly a month on his iPhone via the iOS developer beta, he only got onto Jio True 5G recently, with multiple failed attempts to "accept" the Welcome Offer.

Interestingly, there's a difference in approaches for Jio and Airtel regarding the 5G rollout in India. While Reliance is deploying "standalone" 5G, the latter is building on top of its 4G LTE network. This is why Airtel has been able to roll out 5G pan-India, while Jio is slowly expanding its 5G reach city by city.

Of course, one of the biggest questions right now is: what is Jio and Airtel 5G performance like? Chandra and Jha talk about their experience, on availability and connectivity, upload and download speeds, latency and packet loss.

And we close out by attempting to answer another major query: should you switch from a 4G to 5G phone? To discover that and more, tune into the latest Orbital episode by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

You can also find the Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital on your favourite platform — Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Gaana, JioSaavn, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Don't forget to follow the Gadgets 360 podcast wherever you're listening. Please also rate us and leave a review.

New Orbital episodes drop weekly every Friday.

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