New Delhi [India]: Bharti Airtel plans to roll out the fifth generation (5G) telecom services this month and targets to cover all towns and key rural areas of the country by March 2024, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel Gopal Vittal said on Tuesday.
Addressing the company’s earnings call, Vittal said, “We intend to launch 5G starting August and extending to a Pan India roll out very soon. By March 2024 we believe we will be able to cover every town and key rural area as well with 5G. In fact, detailed network rollout plans for 5000 towns in India are completely in place. This will be one of the biggest rollouts in our history.” He said every network domain is completely 5G ready. “Our transport layer has been built over the years. With the combination of fiber to the tower, synergies from fiber to the home and the availability of E-band micro wave spectrum, every site we roll out will be backhaul ready to provide 5G experience in line with what is needed to deliver a world-class experience. Our multi-terabit MPLS and internet backbone is fully ready to take on the 5G led data growth. Even on the cloud network side, we have best-of-breed partners for the cloud platform that will help us in the deployment of our network in a smooth manner,” he said.
Vittal pointed out that Airtel has now acquired 100 MHz of 3.5 Ghz across every circle in the country. “3.5 Ghz is the workhorse layer for 5G and will give us a pan India footprint that can bring a true 5G experience for our customers. In addition, Airtel has acquired 800 Mhz of 26 Ghz spectrum across every circle in the country. This is a band that has limited propagation but gives 4 Gbps type speeds. Finally, we also bolstered our spectrum holdings in the mid-band and low band (1800/2100/900 bands). As a result, the total commitment in this auction was Rs 43,040 crore.”
Bharti Airtel is the second biggest bidder in the 5G spectrum action. Reliance Jio is the biggest bidder accounting for 58.65 per cent of the total valued at Rs 1,50,173 crore.