Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal has said that the company will be at the forefront of bringing 5G connectivity to India with a powerful network to support the country’s digital-first economy.
The comments from Mittal assume significance as the countdown for 5G spectrum auctions has begun. A total 72 GHz (gigahertz) of radiowaves worth at least Rs 4.3 lakh crore will be put on the block during the auction, scheduled to begin on July 26. As a precursor to the mega event, the Telecom Department is holding a mock auction (mock drill) on Friday and Saturday (July 22 and July 23).
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A unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprise Ltd, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are set to participate in the auction of 5G spectrum. The India market is geared up for 5G services, that will usher in ultra-high speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G) and bring in new-age services and business models. In Bharti Airtel’s annual report 2021-22, Sunil Mittal said, “We can proudly say that Airtel will be at the forefront of bringing 5G connectivity to India with a powerful network that will support India’s digital-first economy.”
Mittal noted that Airtel took the lead in 5G by testing the network ahead of the competition and became the first operator in India to demonstrate a 5G cloud gaming experience and conduct a successful 700 Mhz band trial for rural connectivity. In his message to shareholders titled ‘Onwards with courage and confidence’, Mittal further said digital services, in the next few years, will add several billion dollars to the company’s revenue while maintaining an asset light approach.
This confidence is borne out by the early successes in Airtel’s digital endeavors, he explained. Amidst new COVID-19 variants, geopolitical crises, soaring commodity prices and high inflation, the financial year saw India emerge as a bright spot in the global economy, Mittal wrote. “We must all prepare to take a big step forward and have the courage to do things in a new way with renewed confidence,” he said.
Airtel Managing Director, Gopal Vittal said the company is “fully ready” for 5G and that its core network, radio network and transport network is fully future proofed. “… We demonstrated our readiness for 5G by conducting industry first trials that focused on both consumer and industrial use cases,” Vittal said.