Airtel has announced 5G rollout in India from August 2022 across key cities. The operator will join Jio and Vodafone Idea to offer 5G services in India.
5G spectrum auction has ended and it will be the top three telecom operators who will provide the next-generation of mobile data services. Airtel was among the top bidders for the spectrum auction and after acquiring spectrum in major bands, the company has now announced that it would start 5G rollout in India from August 2022. This could make Airtel the first network operator in India to offer 5G services, beating Jio and Vodafone Idea in the process.
In a media statement, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Airtel said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August. Our network agreements are finalized and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to our consumers. India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom and 5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India.”
Airtel 5G coming in August
Airtel also announced its key partnerships with Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung for the infrastructure support across all the regions. Airtel spent Rs. 431 billion to acquire spectrum in the 900Mhz, 1,800MHz, 2,100Mhz and 3,300MHz bands as far as the sub-6GHz 5G is concerned. For the faster mmWave 5G, Airtel has acquired the 26GHz band.
Rivals Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have also acquired spectrum in multiple bands. However, these operators have hinted at a 5G rollout happening later this year. 5G services are expected to offer faster data speeds and a much wider bandwidth to handle all the traffic easily.
What remains to be seen is whether these operators charge a premium for the 5G services as compared to the existing 4G LTE plans and services. Moreover, in order to access 5G services, consumers will need to buy 5G compatible smartphones.
The most widely available form of 5G is likely to be the sub-6GHz 5G, which may still offer speeds in the upper Mbps range but definitely much faster than 4G LTE. The sub-6GHz 5G will reach out widely as well. The mmWave 5G towers will have a much shorter range but could theoretically offer data speeds in Gbps.