Vodafone Idea’s 5G and BSNL’s 4G in Focus in India

Vi's 5G rollout has happened in four circles, the telco has confirmed that. But that is just to meet the minimum rollout obligations (the funny thing is it has still not been met completely by Vi).

Highlights

  • Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) make headlines every other day.
  • Both struggling telecom operators are losing their customers to Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.
  • The government has mandated BSNL to only use homegrown or indigenous technology to roll out 4G and 5G.

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Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) make headlines every other day. Both struggling telecom operators are losing their customers to Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. To stop that, Vi has to increase capex levels and expand the presence of its 4G and also launch 5G as soon as possible. BSNL, on the other hand, is still figuring out its 4G launch. The government has mandated BSNL to only use homegrown or indigenous technology to roll out 4G and 5G. That is what BSNL is doing, but because there was no player with the proven technology, the process has taken longer than what the government likely anticipated.




Vi's 5G rollout has happened in four circles, the telco has confirmed that. But that is just to meet the minimum rollout obligations (the funny thing is it has still not been met completely by Vi). The major 5G rollout will come only after six months, at least, said Akshaya Moondra, CEO of Vi, at the Q4 FY24 earnings call.

Read More - BSNL Upgrades Data and Speed Benefits with Rs 599 Broadband Plan

The issue is 5G monetisation for most of the telcos. Hence, Vi is not in a hurry to launch 5G. However, not having 5G as an offering is definitely hurting Vi as its high-paying customers are likely looking at Jio or Airtel as a potential network service provider because these telcos are offering unlimited 5G to their high-paying users.

BSNL has been losing customers because of not having 4G networks PAN-India. The state-run telco is only expected to launch 4G in 1 lakh sites in the next 18 months. This means it will be 2026 before will have BSNL's 4G in 1 lakh sites, which is still a low count for the overall mobile sites if PAN-India coverage is concerned.

Read More - Vodafone Idea CEO Believes in Paying More for Using More

However, it will set up BSNL to provide homegrown 5G services. We have talked about this before, that BSNL's 4G is coming a tad too late. As for Vi, things can improve if it can see its dues reduced by giving more equity to the government and getting relief from the Supreme Court of India over the alleged wrong calculation of the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues.

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