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.
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 19,867.8MHZ spectrum in 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands, bolstering its spectrum holding.
Bharti Airtel acquired spectrum worth Rs 43,084 crore in the just-concluded auction.