Bharti Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom operator, wants broadband to reach everyone in the country. Akhil Gupta, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said that the government’s aim should not be revenue maximisation but for the broadband to reach everyone. Thus when the 5G spectrum is offered to the telcos, the pricing needs to be affordable. Without affordable pricing, it will be hard for the telcos to reach everywhere with mobile broadband services.
Speaking at the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2021, Gupta said that for proliferating 5G in India fast, firstly, the spectrum needs to be affordable, but then the states also need to align their rights of way (RoW) policies with that of the central government. Sharing of infrastructure between the telcos is something that should be enabled and encouraged.
Government and Industry Must Work Together to Launch 5G Successfully
Gupta said that for the telecom operators to keep investing in the sector, the government and the industry must work together with the aim of providing broadband for everyone. The government’s revival package and the recently introduced tariff hikes will help in propelling the industry forward, said Gupta.
But the tariffs are still not at the place where Airtel wants them to be. Gupta said that the ideal average revenue per user (ARPU) figure is Rs 300, where the industry hasn’t reached yet. This hints that the future tariff hikes will push for making the ARPU of Airtel Rs 300.
Gupta explained that for the telcos to ensure that 5G reaches every corner of the country, heavy capital investments are required. To do that, it is important that the telcos are earning significantly, and that is why there is a need for higher ARPU.
According to Gupta, the telcos must share infrastructure with each other and stressed that state governments must work with the central government’s RoW to ensure that everything goes right for everyone. Sharing of infrastructure would result in massive savings for the operators.