5G Scam alert: 8 ways you can and cannot get 5G on your phone

5G Scam alert: 8 ways you can and cannot get 5G on your phone


5G services rollout has started in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the 5G network on October 2. Both Airtel and Reliance Jio have started 5G rollout in select Indian cities and are likely to cover the entire nation by 2024. However, just days after the announcement fraudsters have started duping innocent users in the name of 5G. Police of several states have issued a 5G scam alert and warned smartphone users of scam related to 5G. It is important to understand how you can get and cannot get 5G services running on your phone. Here are important things to know to avoid falling for 5G-related scams.

Cannot get: Via link received on SMS, text message, WhatsApp or email

Scammers are out in full form promising users to update their phones via links sent on SMS, WhatsApp and email. Both Airtel and Reliance Jio have been sending alerts to their users asking them not to click on any text message (SMS) or email with a link asking to upgrade your SIM card from 4G to 5G. These links are malware and can steal your data, including bank details.

Cannot get: Nobody can remotely enable 5G in your phone

Remember no one can remotely enable 5G on your phone. Don’t respond to or share personal details and OTP with anyone claiming to remotely enable 5G on your phone. For 5G services only trust the official apps of your telecom service provider, which is Airtel and Reliance Jio. Don’t download any app that promises to enable 5G on your phone.

Cannot get: In a city where Airtel and Jio have not rolled out 5G services as yet

You cannot get 5G in a city where 5G services have not been rolled out yet. Wait for your telecom service provider to launch 5G in your city. Airtel has started rolling 5G in eight cities namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi while Jio has started beta trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi. The 5G services will progressively cover the entire country over the next couple of years — Jio promises to do that by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024. 

Cannot get: On a 4G phone

You need a 5G-enabled phone to get a 5G network running on your phone. No one can upgrade your 5G phone to 5G phone. Be vigilant of fraudsters offering to make your 4G phone 5G enabled. Remember, no software update or app upgrade a 4G phone to 5G phone.

Can get: Via OTA update

You can get 5G via Over-the-Air updates issued by your smartphone company or telecom service provider. Some phones may need a change in the settings section to enable 5G. iPhone maker Apple has said that 5G will be enabled via a software update to iPhone users in December. Samsung and Google too plan to do the same. Xiaomi said that it has already started rolling out the FOTA (firmware over-the-air) updates to select devices like Xiaomi 12 Pro 5G and Mi 11X Pro. 

Can get: On your existing SIM card (on a 5G-enabled phone)

Smartphone users don’t need a new SIM to run 5G. Both Airtel and Reliance Jio have said that their 4G SIMs are 5G-enabled. So, don’t fall for scammers that offer to upgrade your 4G SIM to 5G. You really don’t need it. 

Can get: Push notification from telecom operator to enable 5G

You can get 5G up and running on your phone via push notification from your telecom service provider. But remember, this push notification will never come via a text message, WhatsApp or email. This is likely to be via their official app, and may ask users to make certain changes in their Setting.

Can get: At the same price as your current telecom plan

Smartphone users need not pay extra to use 5G services as of now. Both Airtel and Reliance Jio have said that 5G services will be offered at the same price as users’ current plan. The companies have said that customers will only pay for their existing 4G plan and will not be charged an additional amount for 5G data during the trial.

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