In March 2024, we believe we’ll be able be able to cover all towns and important rural areas, as well as 5G: Vittal
The detailed plans for network rollouts for 5,000 cities in India are implemented: Bharti Airtel
The cost of mobile service in India is extremely low and should be raised: Bharti Airtel MD
The operator of Telecom Bharti Airtel is reportedly planning to launch its 5G services across the country in the next month (August 2022) in addition to plans to bring 5G coverage to all towns as well as key rural areas by the end of March 2024.
We are planning to begin 5G rollout in the month of August, and will extend it to an pan-India launch in the near future. We believe that by March 2024 that we can reach every town and the most important rural areas, as well as five-G. Bharti Airtel MD and CEO Gopal Vittal said during the company’s post-earnings conference.
In fact, the detailed network plan for the rollout of 5,000 cities across India are in place. This is one of the largest rollouts we have ever seen, Vittal added.
The announcement comes one week after BhartiAirtel purchased 19,867.8 millimeters of spectrum from the auction for 5G, which cost an total of 43,084 crore. It bought spectrum across multiple frequency bands , including 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 2100MHz 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz.
In defense of the company’s primary purchases in mid-band spectrum Vittal declared that the company’s capital expenditures will stay at the same levels.
He also slammed the need to acquire the costly 700 MHz band which requires fewer towers to cover in comparison with other band.
Our rivals do not have this kind of mid-band spectrum. Keep in mind that if didn’t have this huge portion of the precious mid-band spectrum, we’d be forced to purchase costly 700 MHz spectrum, Vittal added.
He also warned that the acquisition of 700 MHz would have resulted in higher capital expenditure due to the use of “large, power-guzzling radios that operate on that band’.
The company also clarified the situation regarding the use of standalone (NSA) 5G-based networks.
it permits us to utilize existing 4G technology at no cost as there are already radios and spectrum that is available in our network.NSA will enable the fastest call connection time for Voice and will allow us to provide a more rapid uplink than any other provider due to our vast spectrum assets in the mid range, Vittal said.
Tariff A Hike on the Anvil?
In the earnings call, Vittal also said that the cost of mobile service in India is quite low and must increase.
The previous Monday Airtel posted a growth of 465.81 percent year-on year (YoY) for its net profit consolidated at INR 1,606.9 Cr during the 1st one-quarter (Q1) for the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23).
The annual revenue for users (ARPU) was up 2.4 percent from quarter to quarter (QoQ) up to INR 183 in the first quarter of FY23. Vittal declared that he is expecting the ARPU to hit INR 200, and then INR 300 in the near future account of the increased tariffs’.
Airtel is the very first telecom provider that was able to run a trial of 5G in the year 2018. It also held the first country’s rural 5G trial in the outskirts of Delhi and also the first 5G trial in 700 MHz in Kolkata this year.
It is competing it with Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea in the same space. Jio is owned by Mukesh Ambani-led Jio claims that it has completed 5G coverage plans in all 1,000 cities. Jio is the only one to purchase the band with 700 MHz is also conducting field tests using its five-G telecom equipment.
With the telecom companies spending massive amounts of money on auctions for 5G and the telecom companies are ready to roll out their networks in order to get the first mover advantage in this market. In the midst of Airtel and Jio fighting a fierce fight to be the top two, it remains to be determined who will win the race when the dust has settled.