Airtel plans to roll out 5G services in different parts of the country, starting with key cities, after acquiring 19867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands through the auction for ₹43,084 crore. The spectrum is secured for 20 years.
Taking India one step closer to its 5G dream, leading telecom provider, Airtel, has acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands in the latest spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India. The company has secured the spectrum for 20 years for ₹43,084 crore.
While there has been uncertainty on when 5G services would be available to customers, India’s 5G revolution will become a reality sooner than expected. After a successful 5G auction, the telecom giant announced that it will start launching Airtel 5G services in August 2022.
“Airtel is delighted with the results of the 5G auction. This spectrum acquisition at the latest auction has been a part of a deliberate strategy to buy the best spectrum assets at a substantially lower relative cost compared to our competition. This will allow us to raise the bar on innovation and address the emerging needs of every discerning customer who demands the best experience in India,” said Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel.
“We are confident that we will be able to deliver the best 5G experience in India in terms of coverage, speeds and latency. This will allow us to change a lot of established paradigms for both our B2C and B2B customers. 5G technology is the revolution that can alter India’s manufacturing, services and several other sectors. We remain fully committed to the Government’s Digital India vision and will continue to do what is needed to ensure that India becomes a beacon for the world in terms of technology,” Vittal further said.
Airtel’s impressive 5G capabilities and its legacy of firsts
Today, Airtel holds the largest pool of low and mid band spectrum (Sub GHz/ 1800/ 2100/ 2300) bands, owing to a smart and deliberate strategy in spectrum acquisition over the years. This means Airtel has the capability to provide the best 5G coverage while massive capacities in the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands will allow the telco to create 100X capacities at lower costs. This well thought out strategy for spectrum acquisition through auctions, M&A and trading will allow Airtel to avoid the need for adding an expensive sub GHz band.
With this move, Airtel currently has the widest mobile broadband footprint in the country and is set to lead India’s 5G revolution. The telco plans to roll out 5G services in different parts of India, starting with key cities. Adoption of 5G is expected to be rapid since a large percentage of devices are already 5G enabled. In line with this vision, Airtel has joined hands with multiple technology partners, including Ericsson, Samsung, and Nokia, to help deliver its 5G service across India.
Over the last few years, Airtel has initiated several industry-first initiatives to showcase its 5G readiness. It became the first telecom company in the country to successfully conduct a 5G trial in 2018. In early 2021, it became the first telecom provider in the country to demonstrate live 5G service over an existing liberalized spectrum in the 1800 MHz band in Hyderabad. Airtel also conducted India’s first rural 5G trial on the outskirts of Delhi, and the first 5G trial on the 700 MHz band in Kolkata.
More recently, Airtel launched India’s first private 5G network at BOSCH facility and showcased India’s first 5G connected ambulance in partnership with Apollo Hospital. Last year, the company hosted the country’s first ever cloud gaming experience on Airtel 5G. And earlier this year, it unveiled India’s first ever live 5G-powered hologram of iconic cricketer – Kapil Dev – at the 175* Replayed event.
How 5G will change the way we do things in the future
The 5G auctions have come as a major boost to industry and consumers as the introduction of 5G in the country offers endless possibilities. For consumers, it will translate into ultra-fast internet connectivity at home and in offices, low latency which will enables next level cloud gaming capabilities, better entertainment quality at live events, improved connectivity in densely populated spaces, and perhaps even drone deliveries and cloud-connected traffic control in the near future.