March 22, 2023

Airtel will roll out services nationwide by March 2024, while Vodafone Idea will do the same ‘in the coming period’, leaders of both companies said on October 1.

and Kumar Mangalam Birla, the leaders of and Vodafone Idea respectively, were speaking at the sixth India Mobile Congress where Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched sevices in the country.

is working with speed and courage to bring services to many cities by March 2023, and the entire country by March 2024,” Mittal who is Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, of which is a part, said.

As on October 1, Airtel is launching 5G services in eight Indian cities, of the 13 cities where 5G services are being made available, Mittal added.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea was the only company among the top 3 telcos which did not give a specific date for rolling out 5G services all across the country.

“We will leverage or strong presence in rural India our enterprise customers, our technology partners, and the global expertise of the Vodafone group for progressively rolling out our 5G network and services in the coming period,” Birla, the Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, which owns a minority stake in Vodafone Idea, said.

Birla said the company has 240 million citizens connected to its networks of which 50 percent of are in rural India. He stressed the company’s networks have been constantly upgraded to be capable of smooth and swift migration to 5G.

Betting on 5G

Mittal and Birla both stressed on the importance of 5G sevices for India. Birla stressed 5G will accelerate immersive education, remote health and smart agriculture, to enable inclusive growth and prosperity in rural India.

“The launch of 5G services would enable the country to become a $5 Trillion economy in the next few years, with a Trillion Dollar contribution by the digital economy itself,” he said.

Both also thanked the government for acknowledging the industry’s role during the pandemic and smoothening the pace of 5G. “I can say with confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s detailed understanding of technology is unmatched,” Mittal said.

He added that while he earlier thought electronic manufacturing would never take off in the country, he has been proved wrong and is now confident that the country is becoming a manufacturing hub.

Touted as the largest telecom, media, and technology forum in Asia, the four-day long IMC is jointly organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

The Indian economy is expected to rake in $455 billion between 2023 and 2040 as a direct result of 5G, according to the GSM Association (GSMA), the global industry association representing over 750 mobile network operators.

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