Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are the two telecom operators that will have the biggest impact with 5G in India. Jio is likely to reach more places more efficiently with 5G due to the presence of sub-GHz spectrum. What is interesting about the sub-GHz spectrum? Well, Jio will be able to reach rural areas and deliver 5G at a much lower cost than the other telcos that will have airwaves in the high bands. In simple words, sub-GHz spectrum can reach more homes with fewer sites. But the same does not happen with higher frequencies.
Airtel and Jio have taken the 5G spectrum for all circles. Vodafone Idea has only carried it for 17 circles. Vi didn’t much care for C-rated circles, except for Bihar. This means that Vi users in Category C circles will not get 5G network services, and it is better for them to switch to Jio or Airtel for 5G.
The kind of spectrum wallet that Jio and Airtel have created is much better than Vi’s spectrum wallet. Vi isn’t even spending a significant sum on capital expenditures for network expansion. Vi’s 5G services will most likely also be very limited to what Airtel and Jio will offer. What is worth noting here is that both Airtel and Jio have said that they will launch 5G in August 2022 in India.
Most users go to Airtel or Jio for the first 5G experience
There won’t be a huge number of users who would take up 5G services initially, but most of those who do would probably go to Airtel and Jio for their first 5G experience. For Vodafone Idea to compete with Airtel and Jio as equals, it would take a lot of money. Vi has been unable to raise money for multiple reasons and has affected the company’s ability to offer the kind of 5G services that its competitors would.
But in priority circles, Vi can definitely get its hands on business customers. That’s where most of the large-scale revenue with 5G would be in the early days. Analysts also assessed that Vi’s 5G networks would not be able to compete with those of Jio and Airtel. Also, in Category-C circles, your competitors can eat up all the market share.
5G would definitely come in better than 4G; how big that premium would be is something we’ll see in the near future. But one thing is for sure, if a user buys a 5G SIM, he will most likely want PAN-India coverage, which at the moment only Airtel and Jio can offer. 5G smartphone penetration is happening rapidly in India and within the next two to three years, India is estimated to have hundreds of millions of 5G users. This means that Airtel and Jio will once again gain an advantage over Vi in 5G as they did in 4G. The biggest problem for Vi is 2G users, as well as not being able to raise additional capital.
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