India is currently in the midst of a 5G revolution, with regulatory bodies, telecom operators and smartphone makers all working together with one common goal; to make India one of the biggest 5G markets in the world in the next 18-24 months.
With advantages plenty, most phone makers have started to jump on the 5G bandwagon. However, as is with any technology, there are some brands that have been drivers of the adoption of the 5G technology. When it comes to 5G in India, OnePlus is one such phone maker. Having launched a number of 5G ready phones already, the company has also amassed a level of expertise in the department.
Yet, recently, OnePlus has had to face some difficult questions over its decision to support only a limited number of 5G bands in the country with its Indian variants of the OnePlus 9(₹ 54999 at amazon), the OnePlus 9R and the OnePlus Nord CE smartphones. While the company has played down such concerns, reiterating that its decision is based on research and discussions with stakeholders, including telecom operators, many still remain unhappy with the company's move.
To shed more light on the issue, Ramagopala Reddy, Vice President, OnePlus India R&D, spoke to Digit, where he explained why OnePlus' current crop of 5G phones do not offer wider support for 5G basebands in India.
Q: Current status of 5G in India and how it has affected OnePlus’ choice?
A: The Department of Telecommunications has given the green signal to Indian operators to begin 5G trials in India. Though the timeline of the 5G rollout is yet to be determined, it is known that network support for phones and demands of local carriers vary from region to region. OnePlus’ choice of 5G bands for its devices resulted from having worked closely with local carriers as well as forecasting immediate 5G needs based on current developments as 5G is yet to be rolled out and guidelines are yet to be set by carriers, the mid-bands offer the best coverage and download speeds for an uninterrupted 5G experience.
Q: Why is OnePlus prioritising support for N78 and N41 mid-bands on its phones in India?
A: In terms of popularity, the N78 and N41 will be one of the most commonly adopted bands worldwide. Research shows that the majority of commercial 5G networks will rely on the mid-band -- 3.3-3.8GHz range -- which typically tends to offer a balance of coverage and speed. It is seen that most lower cellular spectrum bands are already widely in use by 3G and 4G networks. Thus, as the most commonly available and adopted band that utilizes pre-existing 4G infrastructure, most commercial networks are majorly relying on the mid-range to implement 5G.
Research has shown that most regions, including India, will most likely be deploying 5G networks limited to bands below 6 GHz in the initial stages of the 5G rollout. Recently authorized 5G trials in India have been led by the sub-6 bands seeing as mmWave has only been implemented by a handful of telecos worldwide.
Q: Will OnePlus be able to add support for more 5G bands in the future via a software update?
A: Adding 5G bands, is dependent on RF design. Adding 5G bands via software updates is not possible if it is not supported by pre-existing hardware.
Q: Will 5G work on OnePlus phones during international travel?
A: The usage of the mid-bands facilitates OnePlus users being able to enjoy an uninterrupted 5G experience while travelling abroad. Equipped with the N78 and N41 bands, users will be able to enjoy a burdenless 5G experience outside of India via a 5G roaming service co-provided by India and local carriers, or with a local 5G sim card on supported 5G bands. OnePlus will continue working closely with Indian carriers to monitor regional developments and continue improving our product and service so users can enjoy a fast and smooth 5G experience.
Q: What are OnePlus' plans for 5G development in India?
A: 5G has always been a top priority in our product strategy, which we identified early on, invested in, and continue to develop by working hand-in-hand with key industry stakeholders. OnePlus is actively engaging with Indian telecom operators to study regional developments to continue to work towards developing products that will enable users to enjoy a fast and smooth 5G experience. OnePlus believes that 5G technology will enable a truly swift experience that will allow users to maximize smartphone usage, be it for communication, gaming, health or even a seamlessly connected IoT ecosystem.
|Release Date:||23 Mar 2021|
|Variant:||128 GB/8 GB RAM , 256 GB/12 GB RAM|