Jio and Airtel ramp up 5G

Together, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are adding over 3,500 sites per week as they accelerate the implementation of their 5G networks. In the next three to four months, both telecoms plan to scale up site additions to 9,000 to 10,000 each week combined as equipment becomes more widely available because of increased domestic radio production, according to executives of the two telcos.

At this rate, the two carriers’ 5G rollout will substantially outpace the requirement imposed by the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) (DOT). Although Reliance Bharti Airtel wants to provide 5G nationwide by March 2024, Jio expects to do it by December of this year.

The spokesman added that Jio will provide its clients with the greatest 5G services and will have the widest 5G coverage in India, much ahead of the other carriers.

According to Bharti Airtel’s representative, the 5G network rollout is proceeding according to schedule. Their current weekly production rate is above 1,200 sites, and we intend to increase it. 

Approximately 2,500 new sites are being added by Jio each week. Jio’s rollout is more aggressive than Airtel’s since the operator is installing two base stations at each site (one for 700 MHz and another for 3300 MHz). Jio is launching its network in a standalone mode, which requires more expenditure because all the equipment, including cell sites and other sites, solely transmits 5G.

In contrast, the non-standalone mode (NSA) employed by Airtel crosses the mid-band spectrum (1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands) with the 3300 MHz bands to provide 5G speeds.

By the conclusion of the first year, telecom companies must commercially provide services anywhere in the three metro areas by the network rollout requirements for mid-band (3300 MHz) stated in the notice inviting application (NIA). A launch for non-metros must take place in at least one city inside a telecom circle.

By the end of the first year, services for the 700 MHz band shall be available in 40% of metro areas and 10% of district headquarters in non-metros.

Presently, Reliance Jio and Airtel are both putting out 5G on the 700 MHz and 3300 MHz bands, respectively.

The DOT receives weekly briefings from telecom companies on the addition of 5G stations. The government has been monitoring the development of 5G services in the nation after receiving customer feedback last month that subscribers were unable to use 5G connectivity even though some telecoms claimed 5G services were accessible in select areas. Manufacturers of smartphones have been instructed to expedite software updates on devices addition to telecom companies. The majority of devices have been made capable of receiving 5G signals, according to the most recent status update. 

By installing over 10,000 5G BTSS (base transceiver stations) per week, telecom service providers will shortly increase network coverage. By the end of 2023, BSNL will also put out 5G services. Thus, in the upcoming 24 months, 5G services would be widely available.