Realme to launch 5G phone in India, despite lack of networks

Realme doesn’t seem to care that India’s 5G networks are still years away

Despite the lack of an active 5G network in India, Realme has announced the country’s first 5G smartphone, the X50 Pro 5G. The device manufacturer doesn’t seem to care that, even with spectrum auctions scheduled for April 2020, India’s 5G networks are still years away. Being the “first” counts for something in and of itself, right?

According to Realme’s website, the X50 Pro 5G will be available February 24th. While Indian consumers may have to wait on a 5G network, at least they’ll be able to purchase a phone with features aimed at the future.

The Realme X50 Pro 5G will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor and will feature a 90Hz AMOLED display with dual hole-punch cameras and 65W SuperDart fast charging technology.

The phone also supports dual-mode 5G, meaning it will support both non-standalone and standalone 5G modes.

India’s ongoing controversy around the price of spectrum has caused numerous delays in the country’s rollout of 5G. While the auction is set for the spring, there is some uncertainly around which, if any, of the operators will turnout for it.

India’s mobile operators have been demanding lower reserve prices for a long time. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises, has stated that the reserve price of 5G airwaves suggested by the telecom regulator “is seven times higher than global peers,” while Vodafone Idea’s CEO used the word “exorbitant” to describe spectrum prices.

In fact, last July, market analysts posited that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are probably not going to take part in the country’s 5G spectrum sale if the telecom regulator fails to lower current prices.

When it comes to the April auction, specifically, the reserve price of INR65.68 billion ($923 million) per unit of the 700MHz spectrum is still receiving criticism by those in the industry. This is the very same spectrum that had remained unsold in the 2016 auction, when the reserve price had been of INR114.85 billion ($1.61 billion) per unit.

Because of these challenges, Realme appears to be jumping the gun a bit on delivering a 5G phone to the Indian market. Of course, a 5G phone will work perfectly fine on existing 4G networks, but it can be assumed that the next-generation device will cost more than a phone not future-proofed for 5G, causing one to wonder if Indian consumers will be interested in purchasing a phone at a higher price without being able to access the very feature that drives up device costs.

 

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