Will Airtel, Jio Raise Tariff For 5G Data, 5G Calls? This Is What Experts Are Saying..
During the initial level of launch in metro cities by Diwali, the telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have revealed that they are not looking at higher tariffs for 5G services.
The key reason cited by the executives of the organization is the low penetration of 5G-enabled handsets and some technical limitations arising due to the inability of a bulk of these handsets in supporting certain spectrum bands.
Upgrade Tariff Plans to 5G
So rather than coming out with new 5G packs, the two players are likely to upgrade users of certain tariff plans to 5G.
This is feasible as there is no as such change of SIM card is required to upgrade subscribers from 4G to 5G as was the case in migration from 3G to 4G.
But how are the companies going to inform these customers who have 5G-enabled phones, you’ll ask?
The answer is simple. These service providers would be able to make out which subscribers have 5G-enabled phones and at no extra cost, direct messages can be sent to them regarding their upgrade.
The company executives said that the adoption and upgrade to 5G would increase the data usage substantially and eventually translate to a higher average revenue per user (Arpu) for the operators without any tariff hike.
As we speak today, out of all 600 million active smartphones, only 8% of them or 50 million of them are 5G-enabled.
With the announcement of the launch timeline of their services by these two operators, the sales of 5G-enabled handsets are projected to rise.
As per the Counterpoint Research, the total installed 5G phones would go up to around 85 million – 14% of the overall active smartphones as during the October-December quarter, 5G-enabled handsets would contribute around 35% to the overall sales of smartphones.
In the starting few months, the technical issue which the operators are likely to face is the fact that not all installed 5G handsets may be compatible with the 5G signals as most of them may be tuned to the spectrum bands used in China.
For instance, the milli-metre band, which has been auctioned in India, is not used in China for 5G services. Industry and trade sources said that it is quite likely that sub-Rs 20,000 5G handsets in the market may not be compatible with the spectrum bands auctioned in India. According to Counterpoint’s estimate, currently 25% of 5G handsets in the market are in the sub-`20,000 category. Therefore, the operators would have to depend on the newer shipments which would be designed for the Indian market.
Jio, Bharti & Their 5G Services Release
It would be around the same timeline that Jio and Bharti will launch their 5G services.
At the 45th annual general meeting on August 29, chairman Mukesh Ambani had said that the services would be launched in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by Diwali, and the whole country would be covered by December 2023. Bharti has a similar timeline.
By March 2024, Bharti plans to its services in October and extend coverage to 5,000+ towns and cities by March 2024. So, roughly the same timeline.
Vodafone Idea has still not unveiled its launch plans.