Vodafone Idea (Vi) will take a very measured approach to roll out 5G. The telco will see the use cases, how much demand for 5G is there from the customers, what would be the capacity requirements and more. The telco has plans to achieve PAN-India 5G coverage between 2023 to 2024, said an ET Telecom report.
During the annual general meeting, Ravinder Takkar, non-executive chairman, Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), told analysts that the telco has mid-band 5G airwaves in 17 priority circles and mmWave airwaves in 16 priority circles.
Vodafone Idea is Currently Trying to Arrange Funding from Banks for 5G Procurement
It is not hidden from anyone that Vodafone Idea is in a tough financial situation. The telco's cash flow has been hurting, and raising funds from external investors hasn't happened yet. Akshay Moondra, CEO, Vodafone Idea, said Vi is looking for funding arrangements from banks and is also in discussion with several vendors for 5G procurement.
As per Moondra, once these two things are sorted, Vi will start deploying 5G. This doesn't give any fixed timeline for how fast Vi will start deploying 5G for its customers in India.
Vodafone Idea has worked with several vendors, including Nokia and Ericsson, for 5G trials. Vi is likely going to go with 5G NSA (non-standalone).
Takkar also talked about Vi strengthening its 4G footprint in India. Vi took additional 4G airwaves in the Karnataka, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh circles. Takkar then talked about how the average revenue per user (ARPU) figure of the industry is unsustainable, despite the measures that telcos took to correct it.
At the end of the June 2022 quarter, Vi's ARPU was Rs 128, the lowest in the industry, while Jio and Airtel's ARPU was Rs 179 and Rs 183, respectively. The telcos are likely going to go for another round of tariff hikes later in the year to boost the ARPU figures.