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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Vodafone Idea, Adani Data Networks seek more time for minimum rollout obligation in 5G

Sources said VIL was facing funding challenges, while the Adani group is still working on deploying a 5G network in the 26 GHz band for captive purposes

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 27.07.23, 06:02 AM
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Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) and Adani Data Networks have sought more time to fulfil its minimum rollout obligation in 5G.

“Some telecom firms have sought the August 16, minimum obligation clause to be extended. The matter is being examined,” officials of the Department of Telecommunications said.

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Sources said Adani Data Networks and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have approached the DoT to extend the deadline.

They said VIL was facing funding challenges, while the Adani group is still working on deploying a 5G network in the 26 GHz band for captive purposes. The Adanis, which bought spectrum worth Rs 212 crore in six circles, could have either provided broadband services in any one area or connected any of its airports or port through data networks, analysts said.

Among the telecom operators, Vodafone Idea is the only one to not have launched 5G services. It is testing 5G across cities such as Delhi and Pune and is learnt to have deployed 36 tower sites, sources said.

The commercial deployment will start once it places orders with the equipment makers. “The company has made select 5G clusters in Delhi and Pune where it has partnered with various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to test the compatibility of available 5G handsets. It has completed device testing of all major OEMs on its 5G network,” Vodafone Idea said in its annual report for FY23.

Vodafone Idea CEO Akshaya Moondra had recently said, “MRO (minimum rollout obligation) is more a compliance requirement and we will work on that, but we are looking for a wider coverage.”

It will continue to make investments for expanding 4G coverage and capacity, especially in its 17 priority circles and introduce 5G services once funding is in place.

Brokerage BoFA Securities in a research note has said the rapid rollout of Jio and Airtel’s 5G networks could accelerate churn in the postpaid base of Vodafone Idea enticing the high-end users of the third-ranked telecom player in the country to migrate to rivals.

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