Airtel says it's ready for 5G in India, but don't get excited yet

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Airtel Store (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • India's Bharti Airtel today announced its "5G Ready" network.
  • The carrier claims its 5G network delivers 10x faster speeds compared to existing technologies.
  • It is the first telco in India to successfully demonstrate live 5G service" over a commercial network in Hyderabad.

Bharti Airtel, one of India's largest telecom network providers, today announced its "5G Ready network." It has also become the country's first telco to demonstrate its live 5G service. Airtel used its existing spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology to showcase its 5G service in Hyderabad.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement:

I am very proud of our engineers who have worked tirelessly to showcase this incredible capability in Tech City, Hyderabad today. Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere.

Although it hasn't detailed its 5G rollout plans, Airtel says it can "immediately roll out 5G services" in the country once it gets adequate spectrum from the government. It also claims its 5G service can deliver 10x speeds, 10x latency, and 100x concurrency compared to existing network technologies.

While Airtel may be claiming its network is "5G Ready," Reliance Jio is still likely to be the first to roll out commercial 5G services in the country. Unlike Airtel, which needs to pay over ₹25,900 crore ($3.5 billion) AGR dues to India's Department of Telecom, Reliance Jio has ample resources to invest in 5G. The carrier has drawn big investments from several major tech companies, including Google and Facebook.

In 2020, 5G tried and failed to prove its worth

Babu Mohan
News Writer