Airtel 5G launch: telco ready for 5G rollout soon after spectrum auction, 5G tariffs could be similar to 4G plan prices

  • Airtel is ready to launch 5G services in India just 2-3 months after spectrum auction
  • Airtel 5G tariffs could be on par with 4G prepaid plan prices
  • Airtel 5G real-world speeds are expected to be around 200-300Mbps

Airtel is ready to launch its 5G network in India, the company’s CTO Randeep Sekhon told 91mobiles on Thursday. The telco believes it has everything in place to roll out 5G services within 2-3 months of the spectrum auction concluding. According to previous reports, the 5G spectrum auction is expected to take place in May. If all goes according to plan, Airtel 5G launch in India can be expected by August, possibly around Independence Day. Sekhon spoke to 91mobiles on the sidelines of an event demonstrating how 5G can shape the future of interactive sports entertainment.

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Reliance Jio has previously stated that it will be the first telco to launch 5G services in India. Responding to this, the Airtel CTO said, “If the past few years are anything to go by, Airtel has been ahead of the game in specific areas of 4G technology and 5G trials. While this is not a race, we believe Airtel is very ready to launch 5G after the spectrum auction.”

Airtel 5G services could launch in India by August if spectrum auction is held in May.

Don’t expect a big difference between 5G and 4G tariffs

With 5G launch in India imminent, consumers are eager to know whether 5G recharge plans will be costlier compared to 4G tariffs. While Airtel could not comment on what Airtel 5G recharge plans will look like, Randeep Sekhon did say, “If you see globally, there’s not a major difference between 5G and 4G tariffs. We expect 5G plans in India to be similar to 4G tariffs.”

Airtel 5G

What to expect from real-world Airtel 5G speeds?

During the trial stages, Airtel managed to deliver 5G download speeds over 1Gbps. That said, real-world speeds will differ due to a variety of reasons, such as the number of devices on a home network, obstacles in range, and the type of media being consumed, among other things. The Airtel CTO said that one can expect real-world speeds in a home setting to be anywhere between 200Mbps to 300Mbps on 5G. While this might not sound much in terms of expectations from 5G, Randeep Sekhon believes such speeds are more than enough for most modern-day use cases. In contrast, 4G speeds in India hover in the range of 15-25Mbps.

On Thursday, Airtel showcased the “future of immersive video entertainment on 5G” by recreating the stadium experience of cricketer Kapil Dev’s famous 175 not out vs Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup. With speeds averaging around 200Mbps and latency of under around 40ms, more than 50 concurrent users were able to watch a 4K video experience of the match on a 5G smartphone, with real-time access to multiple camera angles, 360-degree in-stadia view, and shot analysis.