Bharti Airtel is looking to get ahead of Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea in the 5G race. The telco has been raising funds very aggressively. It might be solely because the telco wants to enter the spectrum auctions with full confidence about its ability to get the best out of it. In the last few months, Airtel has raised funds multiple times. Once through the rights issue, then with the Google partnership, and now the telco is looking to raise up to $1 billion (USD) with debt instruments.
Airtel has constantly been upgrading networks across the country to support 5G as and when it launches. Airtel calls its mobile networks 5G ready. Not that Jio and Vodafone Idea (Vi) aren’t doing the same, but Airtel’s strategy of raising funds looks aggressive.
Airtel Has Already Proved the Power of 5G
Bharti Airtel was the first in India to test a live 5G network using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) in Hyderabad, using spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. The telco was successful in its testing and was able to showcase the power of 5G to the people living in India.
This was way back in early 2021. A year later, Airtel has come a long way working with its partners and conducting 5G trials. The telco has tested cloud gaming and more on its 5G networks and found successful results.
Vodafone Idea is going to face a lot of problems with the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions. The telco doesn’t have the money needed. Vi has been trying to raise funds for years now but hasn’t been able to secure any so far. Airtel, on the other hand, has raised funds multiple times in the last two quarters alone.
Jio is also making huge strides with 5G. The telco has developed a completely homegrown 5G stack and is conducting trials using it. Jio is also eyeing to reach as many as 1,000 cities with 5G networks.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had said that India would see 5G in 13 cities first. But as per the plans of Jio, many more cities might see the arrival of 5G.
Airtel’s biggest aim with 5G won’t be to acquire new mobile customers but to get the attention of the enterprise customers within India. Airtel Business, the B2B arm of the telco, already has a comprehensive set of services. With the arrival of 5G, Airtel will be able to offer better and more innovative services to enterprise customers.