Gopal reaffirmed that the corporation possesses millimetre wave spectrum in addition to workhorse spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. For this reason, he thinks that no more spectrum will be required anytime soon
During the recent earnings call for the second quarter ending on September 30, 2023, Gopal Vittal, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel, provided clarification regarding the company’s spectrum position and spending for the next two years. Gopal emphasised that Bharti Airtel is in a favourable position because of its huge mid-band spectrum holdings.
When asked about the company’s stance on purchasing spectrum in the 700 MHz (Sub-GHz band), Gopal explained that it had already stated its stance. The corporation has already made investments in this area and currently holds sub-GHz spectrum between the 900 MHz and 850 MHz bands, with a bandwidth ranging from 5 to 10 MHz in each circle.
Gopal stressed that coverage, not capacity, is the main benefit of having 5–10 MHz of spectrum. Thus, the corporation will get some coverage but not capacity if it just pays Rs 30,000–40,000 crores for the 700 MHz spectrum.
Gopal reaffirmed that the corporation possesses millimetre wave spectrum in addition to workhorse spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. For this reason, he thinks that no more spectrum will be required anytime soon.
“Renewal spectrum is the sole area where a few tiny bits of spectrum might be required. There are just three or four circles in some of the circles where there may be a spectrum expiration, however it depends on the traffic patterns. Spending on spectrum will be minimal, at least over the next few years,” he continued.
In reference to the 2G Network, Gopal gave a few instances of markets (circles) where 2G devices currently make up less than 7-8 percent, such as Gujarat, Delhi, and Kerala. In Mumbai, the percentage of 2G devices on the network is less than 7-8 percent. Although there are still a lot of 2G devices in some areas, including as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan, the business anticipates that all of these 2G users will move to smartphones in the next three to five years in accordance with the transition cycle.
Bharti Airtel also, announced the launch of Airtel Xstream AirFiber, its fixed wireless access (FWA) offering, on 5G for consumers in Delhi and Mumbai in August this year. The implications are high since FWA may be the first 5G use case that allows telecom companies to recoup their significant investments in the rollout of the newest technology.
Airtel and Jio are two major telecommunications companies in India, and both have launched their 5G networks nationwide. Airtel is deploying its 5G Plus services on Non-standalone (NSA) infrastructure 5G technology was first launched in the country in October, 2022 at IMC when PM Modi officially introduced 5G in India.