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Vodafone Idea CEO Announces Plans to Launch 5G in Six Months

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In Short:

Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) will start rolling out 5G in November 2024, focusing on urban cities where there are more 5G devices. The company has showcased its 5G FWA solution at the Indian Mobile Congress and has already launched 5G in four circles. VIL plans to use the recently raised funds for capex to expand 4G and roll out 5G. The telco’s customer base has been declining due to the absence of 5G, leading to a decrease in active users. A tariff hike is needed for telcos to see growth in ARPU numbers.

Vodafone Idea to Roll Out 5G in November 2024

Vodafone Idea to Roll Out 5G in November 2024

Rollout Plan

Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), a leading Indian telecom operator, has announced that they will begin rolling out 5G services in six months from now. Akshaya Moondra, CEO of VIL, confirmed during the Q4 FY24 investors call that the rollout will commence in November 2024. The focus will primarily be on urban cities where the concentration of 5G devices is higher. It is worth noting that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have already expanded their 5G presence in several Indian cities and towns.

5G Solutions

Vodafone Idea will introduce 5G NSA along with its 5G FWA (Fixed-Wireless Access) solution called Vi AirFiber, which was showcased at the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023. The telco has initiated 5G services in four circles, namely Maharashtra (Pune), Delhi, Punjab, and Chennai. Despite facing funding challenges, the recent equity raise of Rs 20,000 crore will be utilized for capex to enhance the 4G infrastructure and facilitate the 5G rollout.

Customer Impact

The absence of 5G has resulted in a decline in Vodafone Idea’s customer base, as Airtel and Jio customers have access to unlimited 5G data. VIL’s active user base has decreased from over 200 million to 193 million within a year. Although the ARPU growth has been commendable in terms of CAGR, the current ARPU of Rs 146 lags behind Jio’s Rs 181.7 and Airtel’s Rs 209. To stimulate meaningful growth in ARPU numbers, the industry needs a tariff hike.

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