2020 has been a rather interesting year for smartphone brands. While most of them felt the impact of COVID-19, with no shipments made for a month or two, brands were still able to come up with innovative smartphone models. As expected, one of the more talked-about changes seen in the smartphone industry was regarding 5G-enabled handsets.
While it was initially expected that the smartphone brands would only offer 5G-enabled phones in the premium segment, that has now changed, with OnePlus launching OnePlus Nord in the mid-range segment. Other brands like Xiaomi and Realme have already announced their upcoming smartphone models that are 5G-enabled, which would cost less than Rs. 20,000, such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 and Realme V5.
This begs the question: should you purchase a 5G-enabled smartphone now, or should you wait for a while? Aside from the shrinking prices, India currently does not have the infrastructure needed to roll out with 5G networks. Furthermore, while the 5G spectrum auction was expected to be carried out by the government earlier this year, the pandemic, along with the high spectrum prices for auction proved to be major deterrents.
While recent reports suggested the government’s inter-ministerial panel may lower the reserve price of spectrum, the fact that the Indian government has now banned operators from procuring equipment from Chinese vendors will substantially increase the procurement costs.
Because of these major hurdles, it is now being speculated that the Indian consumers may not get to experience the blazingly-fast 5G data speeds until late 2021, or early 2022. Taking this into context, we give you the pros and cons of buying a 5G mobile in today’s market.
- 5G smartphones come with better features
It goes without saying that a 5G-enabled handset comes with all the latest features, and high-end specs. During the first half of 2020, many brands, including iQOO, Realme and Samsung offered flagship models that were 5G-enabled, and came with high RAM size, greater storage capacity, faster processors, and better cameras. OnePlus then introduced the country’s first mid-range 5G smartphone, which was still head-and-shoulders above other mid-range phones, earning the tag of the best phone under 30,000 INR.
Thus, if you purchase a 5G-enabled handset, you can bet that the phone will have significant upgrades from your older model. You can also purchase a flagship model without worrying about the cost, and purchase the smartphone on EMIs by either using the credit card, or the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card.
- No need to upgrade your 5G handset for years
Yet another advantage of buying a 5G mobile today, is that you don’t have to think about upgrading your phone once the Indian telecom operators roll out with 5G networks. This is expected to happen either in late 2021, or early 2022, and the current 4G phones will not support 5G. While we just had to change our SIM cards to get 4G connectivity a few years ago, to enjoy 5G technology, we have to upgrade our handsets.
Given the fact that we can now buy a 5G-enabled smartphone for less than Rs. 25,000, we can just purchase one today, and not think about buying a new phone for the next 3-4 years if we want.
- Shrinking prices
5G-enabled smartphones were initially offered at premium prices, as brands started by rolling out flagship models with 5G connectivity. However, with OnePlus launching OnePlus Nord, 5G smartphones suddenly became more affordable. Now, OnePlus is set to launch OnePlus Clover, a budget-friendly device that will offer 5G connectivity for less than Rs. 20,000, while other brands like Xiaomi and Realme are expected to launch 5G-enabled phones at similar price points.
This would mean that if you wait for a few more months, you can buy 5G smartphones at pocket-friendly prices, owing to the shrinking costs.
- Future 5G handsets will come with better features and specs
It is almost inevitable that new 5g mobiles over the next year will come with better features and specs than those that are available today. This would mean that if you wait for 12-16 months, you can purchase smartphones with even better features and more recent technology than the ones available in the market.
Furthermore, considering the fact that the Indian telecoms will not roll out with 5G networks anytime soon (we still have at least 12-16 months for that to happen), a 5G phone today is no different from a model that supports 4G, at least in terms of functionality.
In conclusion, we would advise you to wait for a few more months before purchasing a 5G-enabled phone. While 5G technology is all the rage today, one would be better off not buying a 5G mobile right now, and they can invest that amount in a 5G mobile next year.