Airtel would double its 4G network by next fiscal as it is preparing to take up the competition from Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Airtel finally seems to have realised that it needs to focus on the expansion of its 4G network, if they have to stand the competition of Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of the Reliance Industries group. “We have decided to roll out (4G). We have 20,000 base station now, in March, and we will be doing another 20,000 next year,” Bharti Airtel Ltd chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said during the MWC 2015 held in Barcelona. As per Mittal funds is not an issue because company is already spending about $3 billion per year on its network expansion which does not include the spectrum. He also said that the 2G and 3G roll outs are the most expensive expansions.

Mittal also said that the 3G networks are facing traffic congestion issues majorly in the metros and tier 1 cities and hence Airtel will mount mobile tower sites to use its 20 megahertz (MHz) broadband wireless access spectrum which should prove to be “life saving” to the 3G network. As of now Airtel has only 5MHz of 3G spectrum in some parts of the country however government has put up additional 5MHz for 3G in the ongoing auction.

Airtel has also joined hands with China mobile as announced in the MWC 2015 and now has plans to manufacture a mobile which should be available at a lower cost and also it should support all the networks, basic idea here it to promote the usage of all the networks. The main aim of this partnership is to bring in a multi-band and multi-mode smartphone at a price of  $100 i.e.Rs 6000 per peice and this handset should be supporting all the networks so that the user can switch off from 4G to 3G to 2G based on the availability and access of network to the user. Mittal said, ‘Partnership with China Mobile gives Airtel an “economy of scale” and it will be able to lower its capital expenditure significantly.’ Major objective of Airtel-China Mobile partnership as per Mittal is “Driving down cost of equipments, devices, setting up standards for next generation technology like 5G and exchange of best practices without any equity transaction.”

Bharti Airtel Ltd has plans to invest $1 billion i.e. Rs 6,200 crore per year exclusively for 4G from FY 2015-16 according to industry experts, indicating there is a high growth potential for 4G network in India. Mittal envisions 2015-2016 to witness a huge development in such a way that Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm put together would be just 10% of the China Mobile’s 4G network.

With the mass level rolling out of 4G, users will soon be able to experience fast wireless service and multitasking from Airtel and advanced service from Reliance Jio which includes mix of voice, data and video as per requirement of the user. So in all it will benefit all the users with advanced technology of 4G.

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