Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are all expected to launch 5G networks in the near future. The 5G launch timeline for Vodafone Idea is, however, slightly in the dark territory right now because of funding issues. According to the analysts, there's a big issue for the telcos looming with their 5G growth plans. While consumers may own a 5G smartphone, they might not necessarily switch to 5G services. This is because they need, first of all, an incentive to leave their current services and upgrade. If all their needs are satisfied with 4G in a very decent manner, 5G is something they might not pay extra for.
This could hurt the ROI (return on investment) for the telcos with 5G. Especially, when the telcos are looking to rapidly deploy infrastructure and roll out 5G across the nation. According to a BQ Prime report, Sachin Salgaonkar and Priyank Mahajan, research analysts at BofA Securities, said, better video quality turned out to be the "killer app" that pushed users to upgrade to 4G, but with 5G, there's no such use case found yet. Better video quality is not going to be a good enough incentive for consumers to shift to 5G network services.
The analysts said that globally, FWA connectivity, AR/VR immersive experience and gaming are the major use cases of 5G. However, they said that none of these use cases is at a meaningful scale. Basically, the analysts were saying that there needs to be a 5G use case or multiple of them that can be adopted by the users at scale in a meaningful manner and monetised by the telcos to create a win-win scenario.
Jio's chairman, Akash Ambani, gave the world a short glimpse into what Jio's 5G networks can enable for the consumers at the 4Gth AGM (Annual General Meet) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Ambani said that Jio's 5G networks could help consumers with an immersive cricket-watching experience. The broadcasting rights of IPL are also with RIL, and that's a major bonus for them.
At the end of the day, there would always be enterprise clients looking for getting 5G services from the private telecom operators of India. Thus, initially, if consumers aren't really adopting 5G, the telcos can shift their focus towards the enterprises.