Airtel Triggers 5G War: Becomes 1st Telco To Test 5G Network; Claims 10X More Speed Without Changing SIM

We had reported earlier that Reliance Jio is all set to carry out test the 5G speeds. But the recent news suggests that while Reliance Jio is running ahead in the race of achieving the 5th generation speed, Bharti Airtel is not far behind. 

The second largest telecom company in India, Airtel, is not only planning to give a tough competition to Jio but it is also aiming to break its monopoly by being the main 5G provider in India. Looking at this battle it seems like the 5G airwaves auction is going to be very heated whenever it is announced by the government.

Has Airtel Already Tested Its 5G Network?

After Mukesh Ambani promised to launch its 5G network in the later half of next year, Airtel is also gearing up to bring 5G to the Indian audience.

Reportedly, Airtel has already performed 5G tests using 1800MHz bandwidth on its 4G network in Hyderabad. The telco also claimed that it can provide 5G service with the help of 4G band but said that it will wait for the government to release 5G airwaves.

What Is Stopping Airtel From Releasing Its 5G services?

The Chief executive at Airtel, Gopal Vittal, is positive that his company is prepared enough to  provide 5G service commercially. He assured that whenever Airtel will provide 5G service it won’t be just a marketing stunt but provide actual full power 5G speed. 

Nevertheless, he also said that the telecom operator believes in delivering experience.Therefore, even though 5G can be generated using 1800, 2300 and 2100 MHz frequency, the company will wait for the release of mid-band so that 5G can be delivered to its true potential. 

Moreover, Vittal also stressed on the fact that since the company has been working for an entire year, implementing 5G is just a ‘flick of a button’. Still waiting for an adequate 5G spectrum is wiser than releasing the high speed service in this current matured 4G ecosystem.

What Are The Challenges That Airtel Can Face?

According to the Partner and head of Analysys Mason, Rohan Dhamija, the biggest issue for Airtel while establishing 5G network will be updating all its current 4G websites to comply with 5G service. He also added that this will require the telco to invest a lot of time and capital expenditure.

On the contrary, Airtel claims that this won’t be the problem for it as its websites are already capacity to support 5G services. The chief technology officer of Airtel, Randeep Sekhon, shared that the company also has around a million active 5G devices priced around Rs 25,000 in its network.

However, he also affirmed that to target the masses the price range of these devices will have to be reduced to Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000. The reason for which 4G got accepted widely was because of its affordability. Hence, Airtel is ready to work with all the device partners to bring 5G smartphones and make them support the changing spectrum. 

In addition to this, Vittal also expressed the need for acceptance of a global 5G standard natively made in India since it will open doors for more innovation.

What Is Airtel Experimenting with?

According to the authorities, Airtel is also collaborating with several companies to explore the OpenRAN technology and 3GPP-approved NSA (Non-Stand Alone) and SA (Stand Alone)  to introduce 5G at lower cost in India. On the other hand, Jio is rooting up to SA to deploy 5G.

The prices of 5G services are unknown as of now since it is too soon to predict. Looking at the current race of telecoms, one thing that can be assured is that high speed 5G service is going to hit the market very soon.

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