Bharti Airtel launched its 5G services during IMC 2022 on October 1, 2022. The initial announcement happened with the launch of Airtel 5G Plus services in eight cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi and within less than 30 days of launch, the company announced that it surpassed 1 million unique customers on its 5G network. In this Analysis, let's look at the timeline, showing the aggressive nature of Rollouts while also focusing on the announcements made by the telco.
4 Key Points to Focus
If we carefully observe the announcements, there are details to note.
- Open and Commercial announcements - where anyone with a compatible handset can use 5G on existing 4G plans.
- Timely Execution - A case in which the telco is aware of the technology and device ecosystem, that it has projected as a reason for advantage.
- 5G Rollout Areas - 5G announcements focused on Airports, Key Cities and places, including NorthEast corners of India.
- Details and Precision in Announcements - Unlike other announcements where we get to hear every real-estate term (Residential areas, schools, hospitals and high footfall areas etc.) except the place of availability itself, Airtel's 5G announcements are clear and crisp on where exactly 5G is available in the city with the places included.
Timeline of Airtel 5G Announcements with Details Involved
|1 October 2022
|Airtel announced launch of 5G in 8 cities during IMC 2022.
|6 October 2022
|Airtel announced the launch of Airtel 5G Plus in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi.
|2 November 2022
|Airtel announced that it surpassed 1 million unique customers on it 5G network. The company achieved this milestone in less than 30 days of its commercial launch even as the network is being built.
|3 November 2022
|Airtel announced Airtel 5G Plus launch at the new terminal T2 in Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru.
|Customers can now enjoy blazing speeds on their mobile phones while they are at the arrival and departure terminals, lounges, boarding gates, migration and immigration areas, security gates, baggage claim belt areas etc.
|10 November 2022
|Airtel announced the launch of 5G Plus in Panipat. Airtel 5G Plus, is now live in 9 cities. All of urban India to be covered in 2023 making this one of the fastest roll-outs
|Currently operational at Tehsil Camp, Barsat Road, IOCL, Devi Mandir, Bhawna Chowk, and few other select locations.
|8 Cities + 1 City = 9 Cities
|15 November 2022
|Airtel announced 5G Plus services in Gurugram.
|Currently operational at DLF Cyber Hub, DLF Phase 2, MG Road, Rajiv Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Atlas Chowk, Udyog Vihar, Nirvana Country, Gurugram railway station, Civil lines, Ardee city, Huda city center, Gurugram National Highway and few other select locations
|9 Cities + 1 City = 10 Cities
|17 November 2022
|Airtel announced 5G Plus at Pune Airport.
|Passengers can enjoy blazing speeds on their mobile phones while they are at the arrival and departure terminals, lounges, boarding gates, migration and immigration counters, security areas, baggage claim belts, parking area etc.
|18 November 2022
|Airtel announced 5G Plus at Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi.
|In Varanasi, the services are currently available at Benaras Hindu University (BHU), Ghatt Road, Adampur, Beniya Bagh Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Rajghat, Sarnath, Sigra, Thateri Bazaar and few other locations.
|21 November 2022
|Airtel 5G Plus services now live in Guwahati.
|Currently operational at G S Road, Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Dispur College, Ganeshguri, Christian Basti, Sree Nagar, Zoo Road, Lachit Nagar, Ulubari, Bhangagarh, Beltola and few other select locations.
|10 Cities + 1 City = 11 Cities
A close look at the timeline shows us that October was a cold month, and it all started in November. The announcements are happening with Airports and Cities as the focus. So far, we have 3 Airports - Bengaluru, Pune and Varanasi - that are 5G enabled and 11 Cities with specific details where exactly 5G is available. We know the excitement carried by users to experience the latest technology, and these places of availability will help customers experience the tech than being clueless about where exactly in the city. Of course, we believe 5G is not a kind of tech that will be made available everywhere and anywhere, at least in the initial phases.
Airtel 5G Cities Mapped:
Global 5G Rollouts
If we look at the 5G availability maps globally, with the pace at which things are happening in India, we can understand that we are not so far from being benchmarked against the fastest 5G rollouts.
5G Announcements from Reliance Jio
On the other hand, Reliance Jio, which is already 5G ready, has no announcements and depth in the details of 5G availability. Who knows what surprises the telco has packed in for us? Let's wait and watch. Below is the announcement timeline of Jio.
|4 October 2022
|Jio announced the launch of Jio True 5G. Jio 5G Welcome Offer launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Varanasi for Jio users, by invitation.
|22 October 2022
|Jio announced True 5G in Nathdwara (5G, 5G Powered Wi-Fi), and Chennai (5G)
|4 Cities + 2 Cities = 6 Cities
|10 November 2022
|Jio True 5G launched in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Invited Jio Welcome offer users to enjoy unlimited 5G Data. Jio claims Jio True 5G is already being experienced by Lakhs of users across six cities.
|6 Cities + 2 Cities = 8 Cities
|18 November 2022
|Jio announces True 5G services across entire Delhi-NCR region.
|Service is available across Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and other major locations.
5G network will be present across all important localities and areas including, but not limited to:
5G Deployments and Tariff Correction
While the 5G rollouts are progressively happening, it's worth noting that 5G is a technology with an improved focus on connectivity and the entire ecosystem. With every 3gpp release of 5G, we get to see even minute aspects like Device battery optimisation, Messaging, Acknowledgement times etc., are even considered to offer a great network experience. We are equally excited about the rollouts to progress further and reach a wider audience and what big thing consumers will use the tech for with evolving use cases every day. Also, with the significant CAPEX involved in 5G deployments, we believe there is a need for tariff correction for better positioning of 5G services and digital infrastructure in the country.
With the pace at which Bharti Airtel is aggressively rolling out 5G to reach a wider audience, the 5G availability Map of India will be on par with Global peers in the coming days. Also, the recent revision of the Tariff (entry-level recharge plan) in Haryana and Odisha circles gives us a cue about Airtel's financial preparedness concerned with 5G deployments and that a hike is much required for the sustainability of the Industry.