Bharti Airtel launches 5G in 8 cities
Bharti Airtel's 5G service will be available in eight cities from Saturday, its chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said at India Mobile Congress.
With this, Bharti Airtel has become the first company to launch 5G services in the country.
"When you (Prime Minister) will launch 5G today. 5G from Airtel will be available in 8 cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore and other cities," Mittal said.
He also said that Airtel will roll out 5G services in several cities across the country by March 2023 and across India by March 2024.
Mittal lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's understanding of technology and connecting it with the nation's progress.
"We are proud and very fortunate that we have amongst us a leader who understands technology meticulously. Many leaders appreciate technology but its granular understanding and linking it for the progress of the country, according to me what Modi Ji can do no one else will be able to do," he said.
He also acknowledged the contribution of Reliance Industries Limited chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani to the growth of 4G.
"I would like to remind Mukesh (Ambani) when he gave a lot of pace to 4G and we had run very fast to catch up with it. When COVID hit, the pulse of this nation did not stop even for a minute. Our work continued round the clock and its credit goes to Digital Mission," Mittal said.
He said that the Prime Minister gave the slogan of startups, which led to the creation of unicorns every month.
"I believe that with 5G hundreds of used cases will create thousands of entrepreneurs and dozens of new unicorns," he said.
According to a senior company official, Airtel 5G services will be available at existing 4G rates and a new tariff for 5G will be announced after some time.
The officer said the 5G services are also being launched in Chennai, Hyderabad and Siliguri.
Bharti Airtel Chief Technology Officer Randeep Singh Sekhon said that the company's backend infrastructure is ready.
"We need to install some equipment on mobile towers for 5G service. We are doing it gradually. As of today, the service will be available in the area close to towers where the equipment has been installed," Sekhon added.
He said every day Airtel is adding new cities for 5G services and increasing penetration within cities.
"People need to have 5G phones to access the service, which is being launched today," Sekhon said.
Bharti Airtel had placed the order for 5G gears with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung immediately after the auctions were over.
The Sunil Mittal-led firm recently acquired 19,867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands, bolstering its spectrum holding.
Bharti Airtel acquired spectrum worth Rs 43,084 crore in the just-concluded auction.