Airtel 5G services will be launched shortly after the government concludes the spectrum auction, an executive said in an interview next to a physical event on Thursday where Telco showcased its next-generation network. The New Delhi-based telecom operator is setting the stage for its 5G rollouts – taking over the country’s largest telecom – Reliance Jio. It conducted an exhibition of the Airtel 5G network at its Network Experience Center in Manesar, Gurugram, demonstrating an immersive video experience using the 3,500MHz band test spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
CTO Randeep Sekhan suggested in an interview with 91Mobiles that Airtel would launch its 5G service in the country within 2-3 months of spectrum auction.
“While this is not a race, we believe Airtel is ready to launch 5G after the Spectrum auction,” he was quoted as saying by the website.
He further underlined that 5G plans in the country are expected to be similar to 4G tariffs.
Airtel has demonstrated the potential of its 5G service by reclaiming the stadium experience of cricketer Kapil Dev’s 175-run innings in the 1983 Cricket World Cup. It manages the experience by simultaneously playing a 4K video of the match for 50 contemporary users, available on a network that provides an average speed of 200Mbps and a low latency of about 20 milliseconds.
The operator also displayed a 5G-powered hologram of the cricketer to showcase its next-generation network running on an Ericsson 5G radio in non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) modes over 3,500MHz band test spectrum.
In January last year, Airtel showcased its 5G network live in Hyderabad. It launched its 5G trial network in Gurugram in June to offer 1Gbps speeds in the test phase.
Airtel struck a deal with Qualcomm last year to increase its 5G network rollout across the country.
Like Airtel, Jio also announced last year that it was testing its 5G network with speeds up to 1Gbps. Jio has a list of partners on the board, including Google, Intel and Qualcomm
That said, the government has not yet announced the exact date of its 5G-centric spectrum auction. However, this is expected to happen sometime in May, and it is safe to assume that operators will be able to launch their 5G services in India from August.