The 5G race in India will be between Reliance and Bharti Airtel: Sanjay Kapoor

Former Airtel CEO discusses the 'two-horse race' between Airtel and Reliance Jio

According to a former CEO of Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel, rollout plans in the country are still “a big maze”.

Tell CNBC’s”Asian street signs“On Wednesday, Sanjay Kapoor, who is now an independent analyst, said Indian mobile operator Reliance Jio’s $25 billion plan to roll out a nationwide 5G network shows that India is” very serious. full” about 5G.

5G refers to the fifth generation of high-speed mobile internet that offers superfast download speeds and more bandwidth capable of supporting technologies such as driverless cars and virtual reality applications, including metaverse.

Based on ReutersReliance is pushing to roll out its network within two months. It is also developing an affordable 5G smartphone with GoogleAccording to the report.

“But when you look at what’s going on… [in] China, for example, a single operator put in more than 15 dollars [billion]$16 billion a year, and they’ve been doing that for the past few years,” Kapoor said.

To deliver a sizable rollout in a country as large as India, it won’t be easy.

Sanjay Kapoor

Independent Analyst

“From an international perspective, [$25 billion] looks pretty good. But in India, it looks really huge. “

In July, India starts auction of 5G before the expected rollout in 2023. Contractors include three of the country’s major mobile operators in India – Reliance Jiomarket leader, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone idea – as well as Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Enterprises.

A ‘neck-to-head’ race

Kapoor said the battle for 72 gigahertz of 5G . spectrum will be a “two-horse race” between Reliance and Bharti Airtel.

“They will stand shoulder to shoulder [and] strategies can be different,” he added.

Reliance Industries’ Jio sent Rs 140 billion in serious money to the Indian government in July – the largest amount among the candidates. A serious deposit amount is an indication of how much spectrum a company wants to buy.

Bharti Airtel has a deposit of 55 billion rupees, while Vodafone Idea has a deposit of 22 billion rupees.

Companies bidding for India’s 5G spectrum

5G . Contractors Earnings (in Indian Rupees)
Reliance Jio 140 billion won
Bharti Airtel 55 billion won
Vodafone idea 22 billion won
Data Network Adani 1 billion won

Dependency can have first-mover advantage with its recent announcementbut Bharti Airtel’s postpaid customer base could give it an edge over the competition, Kapoor said.

What customers really appreciate, however, is their experience with a service provider, he points out.

“Therefore, each of them will have to strive for supremacy in the market to ensure that they have a positive customer experience and are competitive and world-class.”

Need more money fiberization

But India’s 5G infrastructure still has some way to go before that can happen, according to Kapoor.

“To deploy such a large amount in a country as large as India, it is not going to be easy,” he said.

India's minister discusses the country's 5G rollout progress

“Do we have completely breached websites? For example, China already has a million websites … and we do. [have] roughly per operator, about 250,000 sites. “

He added that India will need “much more” of sites to be breached before it can reach every nook and cranny. Fiber infrastructure is the backbone of super-fast 5G networks, where large amounts of fiber are required.

“By the time we can really take pride in delivering a great customer experience, I think we’re two, three years away,” Kapoor said.

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