Vi (formerly known as Vodafone Idea) has finally given a tentative timeline for the launch of its 5G services. More than a year after it made a formal announcement at the 2022 edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC), India’s third-largest telecom company said it is already conducting trials in select parts of Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.
“We are looking to launch 5G services in about 6 to 7 months,” Vi Chief Executive Officer Akshaya Moondra was quoted as saying in a report by ETTelecom. He added that while rivals, Airtel and Reliance Jio, have poured in large swaths of money into the deployment of 5G, “there is no monetisation happening yet,” though they have plans to start charging customers for 5G services soon. Moondra said Vi will “have a better idea on 5G monetisation by the time we launch.”
By kicking off the rollout right after the announcement in October 2022, both Airtel and Reliance Jio have a head start in 5G deployment. While Jio has completed the nationwide rollout of 5G services, Airtel said it will do so by March this year.
In other words, Moondra is hinting that Vi’s 5G services may be chargeable right from the launch. While that would put Vi’s customers in a spot — especially when customers of Airtel and Jio have been using 5G services for over a year without paying anything extra, it would allow the company to minimise losses. The company has been struggling to raise funds for the deployment of 5G services, and while some banks have shown interest, it is not enough.
During the second quarter earnings call in October last year, Moondra had indicated that the discussions on equity funding would be over in the October-December period, but the funding remains behind schedule. Moondra reportedly refused to give clarity on when funding is due.
Vi is also gradually shutting down its 3G services across circles, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, and Mumbai. It is planning to switch off the 3G network entirely in FY2025. The 2100MHz airwaves would be used to boost the 4G network capacity.Get latest Tech and Auto news from Techlusive on our WhatsApp Channel, Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube.
Author Name | Shubham Verma