Airtel’s international units are working fast to introduce 5G networks. Airtel Kenya already has more than 500 5G-ready sites in the country. 5G coverage will depend a lot on the kind of spectrum that is availed to the telcos. Operators need a wide and more comprehensive range of airwaves to provide true 5G speeds to the users.
This is what Airtel Kenya is waiting for. According to a Developing Telecoms report, nearly 600 sites in the country’s three important locations have been upgraded to be 5G supportive. The concerned three locations of Kenya include Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi.
Airtel Kenya Managing Director Prasanta Das Sharma said that the telco is just waiting for the government to allocate the necessary spectrum. Sharma said that Airtel wouldn’t have to do any further work on the sites that are already upgraded to be 5G ready. All that the operator has to do is get the spectrum and decide when to switch on the 5G services.
But Airtel Kenya is waiting for the right time to roll out 5G services. The telco believes that the availability of low-cost 5G smartphones is critical to see successful 5G operations in Kenya.
So the operator expects to roll out 5G commercially in Kenya by 2023, which is two years down the line from now. India is also expected to get 5G networks with a wide-scale availability in the next two years as more and more mid-range, and low-cost 5G smartphones are launched in the country.
The Indian operators are waiting for the government to avail the spectrum for 5G services. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had announced a revised National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP), which includes more range of frequency bands for the operators to leverage for rolling out 5G in India.
Airtel can use the dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology for rolling out 5G and 4G together from the same network core. The 5G spectrum auction for India is slated for the second half of 2021.