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India could force Samsung to unlock 5G capabilities of its compatible phones with OTA updates


Last updated: October 11th, 2022 at 14:46 UTC+02:00

India finally got access to 5G cellular services a few days ago. The country’s top two network operators—Airtel and Jio—have already started offering 5G services in some metropolitan cities. However, many 5G-capable smartphones sold in India, especially the ones from Samsung and Apple, aren’t latching on to these 5G networks yet due to the lack of compatible software.

According to a new report from Reuters, India’s top bureaucrats from the Telecom and IT department are concerned about this issue. To solve it, the government plans to hold a meeting on Wednesday with executives from major smartphone brands, including Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi.

They are expected to ask these firms to prioritize rolling out OTA software updates to unlock the 5G capabilities of their smartphones so that people can access 5G on their devices at the earliest. The report also claims that executives from major telecom operators—Airtel, Jio, and Vi (Vodafone Idea)—will also be present at the meeting.

Many 5G phones sold by Samsung in India are yet to get the software update to unlock 5G capabilities

According to Airtel’s website, only nine Samsung phones in India have 5G-compatible software: Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+, Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S21 FE, Galaxy A53 5G, Galaxy A33 5G, and the Galaxy M33. The rest of the 5G Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S21 series, are yet to receive a software update that will enable them to catch 5G signals.

The issue is even worse with the iPhones. In spite of their exorbitant price tags, none of the smartphones from Apple support 5G networks in the country. Airtel is concerned with the issue as it says that most of its premium customers use an iPhone, and they haven’t been having a pleasant experience with their phones as they cannot access the 5G network even after paying so much money. Apple is expected to fix the issue with iOS 16.1 update.

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