Telecom operator Vodafone Idea's Managing Director and CEO Ravinder Takkar said the telco is deploying 5G-ready equipment across the country. During the post-earnings investor call, Takkar said Vi's network is 5G-ready, both on radio and core fronts. He mentioned that whenever the 5G ecosystem develops in India, Vi will rollout 5G services in the country, depending on the spectrum availability. Just a couple of weeks ago, Bharti Airtel said its network is 5G-ready and once the 5G spectrum is available in the country, it will start rolling out the next-generation technology. Vi also believes that 5G ecosystem in India is still in early stages, but it is well prepared for the rollout of 5G. After going through a tough three years, Vi had a decent quarter that ended on December 31, 2020. Besides 5G, analysts believe Vi will also be the first telco to raise tariff prices again, as it did in December 2019.
Vodafone Idea Deploying 5G-Ready Network in India
Speaking at the post-earnings calls, Ravinder Takkar highlighted Vi's efforts of deploying 5G-ready equipment in the country. At the moment, Vi is in the process of phasing out the 3G network across the country. The telco is expected to phase out 3G entirely in India by FY22.
Already, Bharti Airtel phased out 3G network across India and currently providing just 2G and 4G services. The CEO also highlighted that the 3,300MHz to 3,600MHz spectrum bands required for 5G rollout are very expensive. Moreover, it seems like Vi will play the wait and watch game when it comes to rolling out 5G services.
Keeping 5G launch aside, analysts believe that the next round of tariff hike in the industry is right around the corner. The Average Revenue per User (ARPU) of telcos is improving with every passing quarter. Vi posted an increase of Rs 2 in ARPU from Rs 119 to Rs 121 at the end of December 31, 2020.
In fact, it is also said that Vi will be the first in line to raise tariff prices. To recall, Vi was the first operator to announce tariff hike in November 2019 followed by the implementation in December 2019.
The tariff hike is a much-required one for Vodafone Idea as it posted a 1% increase in revenues to Rs 108.9 billion during Q3 FY21. Tariff hike will further boost Vi's ARPU.