Vodafone Idea Users Who Want 5G Will Have to Go to Jio and Airtel


Vodafone Idea

Vodafone Idea’s (Vi) problems don’t seem to be reducing. The third-largest telco is the only private operator in India that hasn’t announced 5G services. This means serious trouble for Vi because Jio and Airtel will now scoop up its customers who want to experience 5G. While Vi was able to give users a taste of how fast its 5G networks would be at the India Mobile Congress 2022, there’s just no saying when it will launch its 5G networks commercially.

A report from Ericsson released a few weeks back said that a significant percentage of Indians are ready to leave their current operators to explore better 5G services from the other operators. Since Vi doesn’t even have a 5G network, it means that its users will have no other option but to switch to Airtel or Jio for 5G services.

Jio has announced the 5G beta trial for four cities, while Airtel has announced the 5G launch for eight cities. Vodafone Idea hasn’t commented on a timeline for its 5G launch, while Jio and Airtel have already shared their ambitious plan to cover the entire nation with their 5G networks in just a matter of 1.5 years. While the launch of 5G is fairly limited for now, it would scale up pretty fast. Jio is reportedly looking for $2.5 billion in overseas loans to fuel its 5G network gear purchases.

Vodafone Idea Can’t Launch 5G Until Funding Issues are Sorted

Vodafone Idea’s CEO, Akshaya Moondra, said that the company’s 5G launch is not going to happen until the time it can sort out its funding issues. The telco is in talks with several banks for funding arrangements. Once funding is arranged, then the telco can talk to the vendors for 5G equipment. After all of this, Vi can comment on when it can launch 5G. For now, it looks difficult for the telco to launch 5G services as it has a lot of pending dues, especially the dues to Indus Towers. For the unaware, Indus had threatened Vi to take back the tower access in case the telco doesn’t pay back the dues by November 2022.

Once customers start moving out of Vi to experience 5G with Jio and Airtel, it would mean further deterioration of the telco’s subscriber base. It is hard to predict the exact scale or degree of impact that this will have on the Vi user base, but it would be a negative one for sure.