Airtel 5G plan prices could be as affordable as 4G tariff: report

Airtel believes charging a premium for 5G plans might impact upgradation.

Highlights
  • Airtel says it won’t charge you a premium for 5G plans.
  • All Samsung and Xiaomi smartphones that are 5G-ready will see Airtel’s 5G network by end of this month.
  • Airtel is in touch with smartphone manufacturers to tune devices for its 5G network.

Airtel 5G services have started rolling out in 8 cities, with a wider rollout expected in the coming months. Airtel will soon reveal its 5G recharge plans and the telco says they won’t be expensive. In fact, Airtel 5G tariff plans will be as affordable as 4G plan prices. This is because 5G-enabled devices’ user base is less than 10 percent of total smartphones in India, a senior executive told ET Telecom. Charging a premium might impact upgradation, they added.

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All Samsung and Xiaomi smartphones that are 5G ready will see Airtel’s 5G network by the end of October, and the number of 5G devices could increase to around 20 percent by March 2023 with device makers launching sub-Rs 12,000 5G handsets, said the executive. He added that Airtel is in touch with smartphone manufacturers to tune devices for its 5G network.

The executive also said that Airtel is working closely with Apple to push a software update to models lower than iPhone 14 series, enabling them to use the 5G service as the company rolls it out in a few days.

The telco said 5G tariffs would be decided in the coming days citing that 5G pricing will not determine the overall average revenue user (ARPU) due to the current low subscriber base. However, the executive also said tariffs need a buff as the present rates aren’t sustainable. Down the line, the telco aims at Rs 200 ARPU and then Rs 300.

October 1st saw Airtel launch its 5G services in eight cities, including Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, and announce a broader rollout by December is in the pipeline. Airtel aims to reach another 50-60 cities by March 2023 and cover the entire country by March 2024.

Besides Airtel, Jio executive promises that Jio recharge packs will be the most affordable 5G service one could opt for, and users won’t have to change SIM card to use 5G.