Oppo, which is the latest to join the mid-range 5G smartphone bandwagon with the F19 series expected to be launched next week, believes the growing demand for greater data consumption and faster speed will make 5G a reality for Indian consumers.
“5G is now a key smartphone purchase consideration everywhere,” Tasleem Arif, VP and Head of the Oppo India R&D division, told indianexpress.com, adding that in India “there is heightened consumer excitement around 5G smartphones and 5G readiness is one of the top three considerations for smartphone users”.
After 5G phones became quite popular in the Indian flagship smartphone market in 2020 thanks to the addition of new processors from Qualcomm and MediaTek that now featured built-in 5G modems, the feature has now trickled into mid-range smartphones. Oppo is among the brands gearing up to bring 5G support to their upcoming mid-range smartphones.
Major network operators like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are already conducting advanced testing phases of the technology that will make ultra-high-speed data a reality for Indian users. Both Airtel and Jio plan on rolling out a stable version of their 5G tech by the end of 2021 in the country. However, in a more practical sense, a usable 5G that is also accessible by everyone at prices that make sense for most Indians could take a little over a year from now.
That puts smartphones selling today in a tough spot.
With the life of the average mid-range smartphone being about 2-3 years in the country for many, consumers are stuck in a dilemma. Should you buy a 5G enabled phone right now, or get a 4G device with better specifications at the same price, and make your next purchase a 5G phone.
In the Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 segment, for instance, users right now can purchase either a “future-proof”, 5G-capable midrange phone for about Rs 25,000, or at the same price, a 4G flagship device that may max out at 4G two years later when 5G is expected to be quite accessible and popular.
“Looking at the current scenario, 5G service roll-out plans in India are yet to firm up. However, on the device, 5G will be a ‘nice-to-have’ feature for most consumers,” Arif explains.
Users who see themselves upgrade every one or two years might be better off with a 4G device for now, while someone looking to stretch the usage period of their next phone for over two years may want to look at 5G support now.
Sharing a Canalys survey that predicts over half of 2021 phones to be 5G-enabled, Arif further adds that “it will be important to produce 5G devices at scale and ensure that demand generated from mainstream users moving to 5G is met”.
Oppo F19 series will cater to both 4G, 5G customers
Arif shares that the Oppo F19 series will be the first 5G-enabled smartphone in the F series. However, 5G will not be enabled across the entire series. “While the deployment of 5G throughout India is making progress, its full availability throughout the country will take some time, so the demand for 4G will remain there’” Arif shares.
“Catering to this demand, we are offering both a 4G and 5G variant in the F19 Pro series and giving customers a choice that will meet their own needs in a phone,” he adds.
The Oppo F19 Pro+, which will support 5G, will also make use of Oppo’s dual network channel, which will let F19 Pro+ users connect to both a Wi-Fi and 4G/ 5G channel, or two Wi-Fi connections at the same time. The phone will also come with 8 antennas, covering the “full spectrum of 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and GPS connections”.
Similar to previous entries in the Oppo F series, the F19 smartphones will also emphasize on the sleek looks and camera performance. Arif shares that “AI Highlight Portrait Video Quad Camera, and Dual-View video mode that will let users record video from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously will be elements to look forward to with the F19 series.
The Oppo F19 series is launching in India on March 8. The brand will also be launching a new smart wearable called the Oppo Band Style along with the smartphones. The Oppo Band Style will feature blood-oxygen saturation monitoring along with other fitness band features like sleep tracking and heart-rate monitoring.