Bharti Airtel has launched India's first 5G FWA (fixed-wireless access) service. The company is calling it Xstream AirFiber. What's noteworthy here is that it is only available for two cities initially - Delhi and Mumbai. The CEO of Airtel, Gopal Vittal, had said during the recent earnings call that the main challenge with scaling 5G FWA in the current scenario is the cost of CPE (customer premises equipment). Upon taking feedback from these two cities, Airtel will plan a wider launch of the service.
Airtel Xstream AirFiber Plans or Airtel 5G FWA Plans
Bharti Airtel said that Airtel Xstream AirFiber is a plug-and-play device that supports Wi-Fi 6 technology and will provide users with wide indoor coverage and can connect with up to 64 devices at the same time. To start with, the telco is only offering only one category of high-speed plan, which is 100 Mbps.
The 100 Mbps Airtel Xstream AirFiber plan will be available for customers at a monthly rental of Rs 799. Upon going for the half-yearly subscription, customers will get a discount of 7.5%, and their total cost would become Rs 4,435. The security deposit that the customer will have to pay for the CPE is Rs 2500. Note that the plan may only be available for the half-yearly subscription, and there might not be an option to purchase it for a monthly price at the moment.
This is likely to optimise the costs of selling the service as the cost of CPE is quite high. Also, note that 18% GST is applicable on final billing. If you compare, the cost of the 100 Mbps with Airtel Xstream Fiber and Airtel Xstream AirFiber is the same - Rs 799 per month. But with the Xstream AirFIber, you get an FWA device which you can carry with you and connect several devices on the go. However, you will have to pay for six months together for the Xstream AirFiber.
How to Set Up Xstream AirFiber - in 3 Steps
The first step is to, of course, buy the device, which you can do from your nearest retail store in Delhi and Mumbai. Then you have to download the Xstream AirFiber app on your phone. Lastly, you have to scan the QR code on the product with the app.
Airtel has said that it will manufacture all the Xstream AirFiber devices within India to boost the "Make in India" programme.
Shaswat Sharma, Director - Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel, said, "India has seen the rapid growth of home broadband, but there still remain areas with no access to high-speed internet at home due to the physical challenges of laying fiber in a country the size of India. While fiber to the home will always define the best experience of Wi-Fi at home, AirFiber helps bridge the experience gap for everyone else. Today, we are delighted to launch Xstream AirFiber for consumers in Delhi and Mumbai with a pan-India rollout planned soon.”