Most of the 5G Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) towers are installed in six states in India. To be precise, six states in India have 55% of the 5G BTS towers. This means that the remaining country just has 45% of the 5G BTS towers, which clearly shows that Airtel and Jio are prioritising a few states when it comes to the 5G rollout. According to a Business Standard report, states including Uttar Pradesh (east and west), Maharashtra (including Mumbai), Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Karnataka have 55% of the 5G BTS. In fact, if you add West Bengal here to the list, then it would become 62%.
It is also worth noting that people in Kolkata and West Bengal are getting some of the best 5G download speeds in both the average and peak download speeds category, according to Opensignal's latest report. The above-mentioned states are large markets and definitely a priority for the telcos, and may also have a lot of users with 5G phones. Both Airtel and Jio earn the maximum of their revenues from the states above, and thus, it also makes sense to roll out 5G in the best capacity there first.
Read More - Will Offering Free 5G Really Push Consumers to Pay for it Someday
Vodafone Idea is yet to launch 5G and has no clear timeline in sight for it as the telco needs to first raise funds successfully. A few days back, there were reports online that Jio has installed 99,896 BTS across two frequencies it is rolling out 5G in (3500 MHz and 700 MHz), and Airtel has installed 22,219 BTS at the same time.
The reason why Airtel is installing less BTS is that it is deploying 5G NSA while Jio is installing 5G SA, which would require more BTS. Both telcos have so far reached more than 500 cities together with 5G and are aiming to cover the rest of urban India by the end of this year.