It seems like Airtel doesn't want to go behind Jio at all in the 5G race. Jio is deploying 5G SA (Standalone), which is naturally expected to be more expensive and time-consuming. Regardless, Jio has been quickly able to reach over eight cities (Nathdwara, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Varanasi, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru) with its 5G. Note that in Nathdwara, Jio is offering 5G as a backhaul for the free public Wi-Fi, and 5G is not available as a mobile network service. Since the beginning, Airtel has been ahead of Jio when it comes to launching 5G. Airtel started with eight cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Bengaluru. But on Thursday, when Jio announced the 5G services for two more cities, including Bangalore (or Bengaluru) and Hyderabad. This meant the number of cities where Airtel and Jio were present with 5G services became equal (8 cities each).
Airtel Launched 5G Network Services in Panipat
To keep its lead over Jio, Airtel announced 5G in a new city - Panipat. Panipat is a city in Haryana and is the first in the state to receive a 5G network from any operator. Airtel made the move on the same day Jio announced it was launching 5G in two new cities. Airtel wants to keep its edge over Jio is launching 5G networks. The telco is deploying 5G NSA (non-standalone) networks, which can be deployed faster than 5G SA, which Jio is going for.
Further, as Airtel's CEO, Gopal Vittal, had earlier said, the company sees 5G as an opportunity to get more subscribers in the short term. Thus, Airtel would want to reach more cities with 5G that Jio hasn't reached yet. In the coming weeks, we can see more cities getting covered with 5G. By the end of March 2023, Airtel wants to cover most of the urban and major cities in India with its 5G networks.
Airtel users in Panipat don't need to upgrade their SIMs if they are already using the 4G SIM of the telco. Then, there are no special tariffs for 5G. If you own a 5G-enabled smartphone that supports Airtel's 5G and is under the coverage of the 5G network of Airtel, then you will be able to experience how powerful Airtel's 5G networks are. The telco says that its 5G networks are 20 to 30 times faster than 4G networks. A couple of days back, Airtel had also announced that more than a million unique users used its 5G networks within 30 days of launch.