Vi (Vodafone Idea) has shared its plans to launch 5G services in India within six to seven months, as per a report. CEO Akshaya Moondra revealed that the telco is expecting to gain better clarity over the monetisation issue around the next-generation broadband spectrum and the company’s external fundraising situation before working on the rollout of the 5G network. Recently, Vi was served a show cause notice by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for failing to meet the minimum rollout obligations of the 5G spectrum.
According to a report by Financial Express, Moondra spoke about the 5G rollout plans during the company’s quarterly earnings call for October – December. He highlighted that currently, there is no monetisation around 5G in the country. This was aimed at Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, both of which have rolled out 5G services in multiple circles but have not introduced any specific 5G tariff plans for the service yet. Vi is aiming to get a monetisation plan by the time it launches the spectrum.
He also said that the company’s external fundraising is going to be a factor in rolling out the service. However, no details about it were provided, as per the report. Various sources have previously mentioned that the cash-strapped telecom operator has been trying to raise funds for some time now. “After funding plans materialise, we will need around 6-7 months to rollout 5G, and…by then monetisation will be clearer than it is today. Our strategy will be based on that,” Moondra added.
Vi has also failed to meet the minimum rollout obligations placed by the DoT after the 5G spectrum auction. The obligation was to commercially launch 5G services in at least one metro and one non-metro circle within one year of the distribution of the spectrum, which occurred in July 2022. A separate Financial Express report recently revealed that the agency has now served a show-cause notice to the telecom operator and may levy fines.
While Vi did claim in August 2023 that it had made the minimum investments in two out of its 17 circles, it is yet to launch the 5G services commercially.
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