Airtel Reaping the Benefits of 5G NSA Through Seamless Coverage and Experience

Gopal Vittal highlights the advantages of Airtel's 5G Plus Network and the strategic decisions behind its success. The network's environmental benefits, mid-band spectrum utilization, coverage strategy, and focus on user experience are key factors driving Airtel's position in the 5G landscape.


  • Airtel's 5G Plus Network offers environmental benefits through power reduction solutions.
  • Airtel aims to expand its 5G network to urban and rural areas with a comprehensive coverage strategy.
  • NSA architecture provides better coverage, optimizing the placement of sites for seamless connectivity.

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Airtel Reaping the Benefits of 5G NSA Through Seamless Coverage

Gopal Vittal, the Managing Director and CEO of Bharti Airtel shed light on the remarkable advantages of Airtel's 5G Plus Network and the strategic decisions that have propelled the company forward in the Fourth Quarter Ended March 31, 2023 Earnings Webinar. Let's look at some of the crucial points in this story.

Also Read: Bharti Airtel Q4 Net Profit Soars 50% To Rs 3,006 Crore, Revenue Surges by 14%

Airtel's 5G Plus Network and Environmental Benefits

One of the features of Airtel's 5G Plus Network is its environmentally friendly nature. Airtel 5G plus network is kinder on the environment because of its special power reduction solutions. Gopal Vittal emphasized the importance of sustainability and highlighted how Airtel's smart investments and focus on user experience led them to stay away from the expensive 700 MHz band.

Airtel Mid Band Spectrum and 5G NSA

Instead, Airtel strengthened its mid-band holdings over a four-year period and opted for the Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture of 5G. This decision has already yielded benefits such as enhanced coverage, lower capital expenditure, reduced carbon footprint, and an improved user experience.

Also Read: Airtel 5G Plus to Reach Around 7,000 Towns, 100,000 Villages by March 2024: Report

Airtel Ready with 5G SA for Enterprises

While Airtel's focus on NSA architecture remains steadfast, they are also prepared for the Standalone (SA) architecture, which caters to enterprise requirements. "Airtel is ready with 5G SA for Enterprises. We already had it in the environment," said Gopal. Presently, Airtel's 5G network covers over 3,500 cities and towns out of the 7,000 across India, with an addition of nearly 35 to 40 cities each day. The company aims to conclude urban coverage and expand into key rural areas by the end of the year.

Also Read: Airtel 5G Plus Supports All Major Smartphones: Check Details

Drive Postpaid with 5G as Pivot

Airtel's primary objective is to win cities by leveraging the full power of the Airtel Network, channels, and digital tools. Gopal Vittal elaborated on their postpaid strategy, stating that 5G is the pivotal factor driving postpaid performance. Out of Airtel's 335 million users, almost 32 million already possess a 5G handset.

Also Read: Explained: Differences Between 5G NSA and SA

Gopal said 80 percent of the market is in 150 cities. To accelerate their postpaid user base, Airtel introduced the 599 plan specifically designed for nuclear families, which has gained considerable traction. TelecomTalk has already highlighted the Airtel 599 Plan benefits in an earlier story, link below.

Also Read: Airtel 599 Postpaid Family Plan Sees Traction: Check What It Offers

Stopped 4G Investments and Wireless Capex on 5G

In light of the launch and rapid expansion of 5G, Airtel has stopped all capacity investments in 4G due to a significant traffic offload of up to 30 percent in areas where 5G has been deployed. Furthermore, wireless capital expenditure on 5G is expected to decrease as Airtel completes urban coverage this year, focusing on reaching top villages and rural areas.

Airtel Not Competing on Number of Sites

Gopal Vittal clarified that Airtel is not competing to rapidly increase the number of sites. Their technology and NSA architecture provide better coverage, evident in their existing network. By strategically placing a limited number of sites, Airtel ensures seamless 5G connectivity. The mid-band spectrum, specifically the 3.5 GHz uplink, enables signals to traverse further on the downlink, resulting in improved coverage.

Also Read: Bharti Airtel Surpasses 2 Million Unique 5G Users in Tamil Nadu

Example of Better Coverage with NSA

As an example, Gopal highlighted an experience. "About three quarters ago that from my house in Gurgaon to the office, we have actually 23 sites in that stretch, and I was surprised early on to find that six sites that we had put were giving almost seamless coverage on 5G from what was needed on 4G. So NSA gives you better coverage," he shared.

Also Read: Advantage of Airtel 5G With Respect to Coverage and Experience Explained

Refarming Mid-Band, 2300 MHz for 5G

Airtel holds abundant mid-band spectrum, including the 2300 MHz spectrum, which can gradually be repurposed or refarmed for 5G deployment. Although the rollout may vary across cities, Gopal Vittal mentioned that Delhi and Mumbai are likely to experience faster adoption of the SA architecture.

Bharti Airtel's approach to 5G deployment in a large geography and country like India, commitment to user experience, and strategic investments are propelling them to the forefront of India's digital landscape. With a focus on sustainability and coverage, Airtel aims to deliver the full potential of its 5G Network to customers across the nation.

Reported By

From Arts and Journalism background, Yashika closely monitors developments and updates in OTT Space.

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