During the Q2 FY23 earnings call for the investors of the telco, Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, talked about two major things around 5G - 5G SA (Standalone) and 5G FWA (Fixed Wireless Access). Both are pretty important from the business angle of a telecom operator. Note that Bharti Airtel hasn't talked much about 5G SA because it is deploying 5G NSA (Non-Standalone), which works on top of a 4G layer. mmWave (millimetre wavelength) spectrum is only thought to be reserved for enterprises initially. Here's what Vittal said about 5G SA and 5G FWA on the mmWave band.
Airtel CEO on 5G SA
Gopal Vittal said that Airtel is currently testing 5G on the SA mode. This is not for consumers though. Airtel will stick with 5G NSA for the consumers, and 5G SA is being tested for checking on some enterprise use cases that 5G NSA can't enable.
In the words of Vittal, Airtel didn't go for 5G SA like Jio because not every smartphone will be able to support it. He confirmed during the earnings call that in the next couple of weeks, all Samsung 5G phones would also be fully ready to support Airtel's 5G.
Vittal said, "We have also started testing the SA mode on 5G. This mode may be relevant for some enterprise use cases. While these use cases are very niche today, we are already doing our trials to serve customers where needed."
Airtel CEO on 5G FWA Using mmWave Band
Bharti Airtel's CEO also shared that Airtel is testing 5G FWA on the mmWave band. The mmWave band 5G isn't going to be of much help for the consumers anyway, as it would not be able to deliver good coverage. But on 5G FWA, mmWave spectrum could make a huge difference.
Vittal said, "We are also testing our mmWave spectrum for Fixed Wireless Access. You will hear more about our plans on FWA in the coming months."