Indian telecos may delay 5G rollout by 5 years

Indian telecom operators such as Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel are likely to push 5G network deployments by at least five years due to lack of device ecosystem, insufficient spectrum and high deployment cost.

As Indian telecom industry is crumbling under the debt, companies are unable to bear unreasonably high prices for the 5G spectrum. The price for 1 MHz chunk of spectrum is around Rs 492 crore ($69 million) in India. Thus, for 100 MHz spectrum (as per the industry standard), an operator needs to pay at least Rs 50,000 crore ($6.9 billion).

As per the report from Ericsson, initial 5G commercial availability in India is expected only in 2022 and not in 2020 with overall 12% of mobile subscriptions would be on 5G by the end of 2025.

5G spectrum auction in India is still on hold due to the financial pressure on the companies due to the ongoing competition. With Airtel and Vodafone Idea reported significant loss in last quarter, Jio is the only carrier making profits.

As per the reports, the telecom ministry will hold the sale by the end of the current fiscal year by March 2020. But operators are skeptic about it.

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