Airtel overtakes Jio in Indian 5G race
Bharti Airtel has pipped its rival Reliance Jio in the 5G roll-out race by being the first to reach 500 cities.
Airtel said it recently added 235 cities to the 5G Plus service, while Reliance Jio is currently available in 406 locations.
"We have already covered 500 cities and are adding 30 to 40 cities every single day. By September of 2023, we expect to expand our 5G footprint to all of urban India," said Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer at Bharti Airtel.
The 5G service is available in every major Indian city, the operator said, while adding in a statement that it continues to add 30-40 cities to its 5G network daily.
Jio had previously stated that it plans to complete its 5G rollout by December 2023, while Airtel says it will conclude its own rollout in March 2024.
Earlier this week, Ashwini Vaishnaw, India’s minister of communications said that the country’s 5G rollout was among the fastest in the world.
“Within a short timeframe of six months, we have 115,000 sites radiating 5G signal,” he said.
“The 5G testbed at IIT Madras is helping us perfect telecom gear and software. India is now emerging as an exporter of telecom equipment technology.”
“Within a few months, this deployment will be at more than 100,000 sites.”
Such is the confidence of the country in its 5G deployment, that Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister has already begun talking about the potential of 6G.
Vaishnaw added that around 100 6G patents have been acquired by multiple organisations throughout the country.