India’s largest telco plans to roll out 5G in 2021

A very optimistic timeline



India’s largest telecom carrier Jio said it plans to roll out 5G in India by the second half of 2021. The announcement is significant because India is yet to deploy 5G on a commercial scale. All intended plans for a timely introduction stood delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Jio is backed by Reliance Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in India. Chairman Mukesh Ambani was a keynote speaker at India Mobile Congress (IMC) and confirmed that Jio intends to launch 5G services with indigenously developed technology.

The telco has also closely worked with Samsung and Qualcomm to deploy the next generation of mobile communication. Jio has also acknowledged that it’ll start 5G trials as soon as spectrum allotment is complete by the government. However, it’s worth noting that Jio’s plans are overly ambitious, and there could be delays because the government is yet to set up a spectrum auction.

Competitor Airtel is confident that it’ll take anywhere between two to three years for the market to mature for 5G services. The government is expected to organize spectrum sales in January-March of 2021, following which the allocation, testing, and rollout phases shall begin.

Ambitious but not surprising

Considering Jio’s history, it isn’t surprising that the company intends to be the first to launch 5G in India. The telco made a debut in 2016 with pan India 4G coverage and completely ditched legacy standards like 2G and 3G to reduce operational costs. This, in turn, gave it a massive edge in terms of pricing, and it went from nada to number one in no time.

Upgrading the infrastructure to 5G is an expensive endeavor, and Jio’s also well equipped with more than sufficient funds. During the March to May period, it raised a mind-boggling US$ 20 billion from marquee investors like Google, Facebook, Qualcomm, Mubadala (sovereign fund of Abu Dhabi), Vista Equity, and more.

Read Also: This Indian telco has raised more than $20 billion during the pandemic


Apple is preparing to open its first stores in India

Based on new job listings



For one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, India is one of the rarer countries where Apple does not outright dominate. Undoubtedly, the company is trying to change that. Ongoing job listings in India are suggesting that Apple is ready to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the country.

First reported by Financial Times, Apple has posted job openings in India for several retail roles including for the iconic Genius Bar. Another clue even indicates that some spots have already been filled ahead of time. A few employees in the country have reportedly posted about their new jobs on LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, none of the job listings show how many stores are planned and where they will be. Narrowing things down by a bit, a few of the confirmed employees are from Mumbai and New Delhi. The report also does not indicate when the stores will open. However, since a few have already been hired, a grand opening might be coming soon.

Apple has a lot to gain by strengthening its foothold in India. The country is an important stronghold for smartphone companies. However, the company might find things harder as time goes by. The country recently dictated that brands must switch to USB-C if they want to sell their devices in India. All over the world, Apple remains the last stalwart against adopting the more universal standard.

SEE ALSO: Google throws more RCS-flavored shade at Apple

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India to enforce USB-C on all phones by 2024

Smartphones and wearables affected



Last year, the European Union made a lot of waves by announcing the impending enforcement of USB-C across all devices sold in the region. Other countries, such as Brazil, joined in by pondering its own version of the same policy. Then, as 2022 wound to a definitive close, India, skipping a more deliberative phase, has announced a sweeping enforcement of USB-C coming in 2025.

In approximately two years’ time, most devices sold within India must use USB-C ports (via Business Standard). More specifically, Indian lawmakers have included smartphones and wearables as part of the new policy. Like policies in other countries, India’s policy revolves around the drive to reduce e-waste from devices.

Naturally, as is the case in other countries, Apple is the brand most affected by the ruling. While most Android-based smartphones already use USB-C across the board, Apple’s device still rely on the proprietary Lightning cable, severing a significant chunk of the populating from the more universal standard.

The country is nothing to shrug off, either. India is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world. Though Android is much more prevalent than Apple, India’s new policy is certainly a significant speed bump for the iPhone maker.

Though Apple has publicly protested against the new policies, the company has also confirmed that it will comply with the new rules. While it has a slightly lengthier timeframe in India, the brand has to comply in the European Union by the end of 2024.

SEE ALSO: Apple will limit faster USB-C to iPhone 15 Pro duo

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India might force Apple to adopt USB-C soon

Exploratory talks have started



It’s the world versus Apple. After years and years of proprietary hardware, Apple is finally facing a deluge of pressure to abandon the Lightning cable. The entire European Union have already decided to force device markers, particularly Apple, to adopt the universal standard, USB-C. Now, another country is joining in: India.

As reported by Mint, the Indian government has started holding exploratory talks with manufacturers to discuss the possibility of a common charging standard. While the talks aren’t decisive yet, it’s the first step towards legislation moving in favor of a standard.

Though the wording remains vague, a lot of pressure is on Apple. The iPhone maker is still one of the biggest opponents against adopting USB-C worldwide. Amid the company’s growing gallery of USB-C devices, the Lightning cable is still alive and well. A lot of other manufacturers have already moved on to the standard for its their ports.

Soon, the company might not have a choice. If a decisive law is passed, India will join the European Union and Brazil in potentially forcing Apple into the standard. It’s not an insignificant ally for the pro-USB-C camp, either. India is one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world.

Apple is unlikely to launch a USB-C iPhone series this year. The company is already expected to launch the next series in a few weeks’ time. If such a phone is coming, it might debut as soon as next year.

SEE ALSO: Another country wants to force Apple to go USB-C

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