Qualcomm has finally announced its next-generation of processors that will power the upcoming smartphones. The company has introduced three chipsets including Snapdragon 865 5G, Snapdragon 765 5G and Snapdragon 765G 5G.
All the chipsets are made to power the next-generation of networks, 5G. The latest chipset is loaded with a host of interesting features and sure it looks quite interesting. This is not it. Xiaomi has already announced that Xiaomi Mi 10 will be the first smartphone that will be based on the flagship Snapdragon 865 processor, while other companies like Oppo, ZTE, Motorola, Meizu and Nokia have revealed that they will soon bring the smartphones with the above-mentioned processors. This simply means that the upcoming CES and MWC event will be flooded with the latest chipsets from Qualcomm.
However, if you are living in India and are looking forward to grabbing the latest smartphones equipped with the latest Snapdragon processors, then it is a far fetched dream. So you must be wondering why?
There is no clarity on the proper roll-out of 5G!
In 2019, we have seen a slew of smartphones from brands like Samsung, LG, Huawei and OnePlus that are 5G ready, however, not even a single phone with support for 5G has been rolled out in the country. Forget about 5G smartphone, there is no clarity on when the 5G networks will hit the Indian market or not. This is due to multiple reasons. To start with, the government is yet to conduct spectrum auction for the 5G airwaves. Secondly, India is just not ready for the 5G networks as there is no infrastructure for it.
Unlike the rollout of 4G networks in the country, 5G is completely a different domain. The operators and equipment makers have to start from scratch to build the 5G networks in the country and not just upgrade the network as it happened with 3G and 4G. Furthermore, the Indian government is yet to take concrete steps in the direction of 5G connectivity. Many operators have complained that the pricing of the 5G airwaves is way too high as compared to international standards.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that the radio waves be allocated in blocks of 20 Mhz. This means for every 100 Mhz of airwaves, on operator would need to pay at least Rs 50,000 crore.
Telecom operators cannot afford 5G!
At a time when telecom operators like Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Reliance Jio are bearing the brunt of penalties, debts and more, the operators can’t roll out 5G networks effectively.
The telecom industry is under a cumulative debt of around 7.5 lakh crore and it is under acute financial pressure. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are one of the most stressed operators at this time as the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) is long overdue. AGR is the basis on which telecom operator pays license fees and spectrum usage charges.
The Supreme Court recently has told the telecom operators to pay the AGR dues within three months. Airtel and Vodafone Idea have a combined AGR due to around Rs 89,000 crore. Vodafone Idea is the worst affected telecom operator with India’s worst quarterly loss of Rs 50,921.9 crore. So, at a time when the telecom operators are bleeding like anything, investment in the 5G network is out of the equation.
5G smartphones are expensive!
It is important to note that India is a price-sensitive segment as most of the hottest selling smartphones are in the price range of up to Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000. Most smartphones in the country are selling in either budget or mid-range segment. And if you look closely, most of the 5G smartphones do not come with a cheaper price tag.
Whether be it 5G smartphones from OnePlus, Huawei, LG or Samsung and more, all of them carries a hefty price tag. So, it does not make any sense for the handset players or even the consumers to sell or buy a 5G smartphone in India. Firstly, no one will buy an expensive 5G smartphone so manufacturers will not launch it. And even if a manufacturer brings a 5G smartphone to India, it will be of no use as there is no 5G infrastructure or networks.
And it is also important to note that the smartphone’s shelf life is decreasing day by day. Nowadays, the shelf life of a smartphone is not more than one year. So, it does not make any sense to opt for such a futuristic smartphone that becomes obsolete when the adoption of 5G takes place at a mass level, especially in India.
So, where does Qualcomm latest 5G chipset fits in Indian scenario?
Looking at the current situation, the latest Qualcomm chipset does not fit for the Indian market, if you solely consider the fact that chipset banks heavily on the 5G connectivity. The chipset might come with top-of-the-notch performance along with latest camera upgrade but still meant for the Chinese, European and the US market. For the Indian market, Qualcomm latest chipsets will upgrade to its existing lineup as always and one should not expect more than that.