Airtel may buy spectrum in 700 MHz band: check here to know why | Daily News Byte

Airtel may buy spectrum in 700 MHz band: check here to know why

 | Daily News Byte

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Airtel 5G

The rivalry between the two leading telecom operators will not end anytime soon as Airtel is likely to buy spectrum in the 700 MHz bands in the upcoming auction. Currently, Reliance Jio is the only telecom operator in India that has purchased spectrum in the most premium band. Also, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) plans to provide 10 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), meaning that both Jio and the state-owned telecom operator will have an advantage over Bharti Airtel.

However, buying spectrum in the 700 MHz band is not that easy as Airtel has to spend Rs 40,000 crore for the same, which could add to its debt. Meanwhile, an IIFL Securities report said Airtel’s spectrum in low-frequency bands is 50 percent less than Reliance Jio’s.

Apart from this, Airtel has the option to re-increase the existing 900 MHz band to offer 5G services, but it is also expected that 4G will remain for a longer period. In that case, Airtel’s spectrum might be inadequate to compete with Jio, so this clearly shows that Airtel has to buy spectrum in the 700 MHz band to offer 5G services.

The 900 MHz band falls under the low-frequency bands, which are known for providing services in larger areas with fewer cell towers, and earlier Airtel used the 900 MHz band to improve indoor 4G coverage.

Also read: BSNL is likely to get spectrum allocation worth Rs 62,000 crore from DoT to launch 5G services by August 2023.

Airtel non-independent technology for 5G

It is worth noting that Airtel has used non-standalone (NSA) mode for 5G services. NSA mode is known as an advanced technology and global traffic also takes place on the same network. On the other hand, India’s largest telecom operator Reliance Jio is using the 700 MHz band to provide 5G services. The telecom operator opted for an independent mode, which is more advanced than the NSA. For those not in the know, Reliance Jio expects 5G coverage by December 2023 and Airtel will launch services by March 2024.

NSA mode supports 5G network but is based on 4G/LTE infrastructure and uses 5 G-based radio antennas, while standalone 5G offers an end-to-end 5G network. It is the most advanced technology that offers a complete 5G network.

5G network in India

Despite 5G being launched in India, the pan-India rollout will take time as India’s third-largest telecom operator has not announced its plans to launch services in the country. Besides, this is the initial state and it will take some time for telecom operators to set up the entire ecosystem. Therefore, we believe that Airtel has time to bring its services into standalone mode. However, sooner or later Airtel has to go to 700 MHz to remain among the two telecom brands of India as BSNL is also in the same race and to offer better connectivity to its users.

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