Bharti Airtel has now realized that they need to focus on 4G and not 3G

Bharti Airtel has now realized that they need to focus on 4G and not 3G if they plan to take head on with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, a pan-India 4G operator.
Initially, Sunil Bharti Mittal led Bharti Airtel was focusing on 3G but in 2014, the focus has now shifted to 4G with the upcoming launch of Reliance Jio 4G services planned for first or second quarter of FY 2015-16. Bharti Airtel do have an edge as its 4G services is launched in few cities like Kolkata, Chandigarh, Bangalore and others where they provide coverage in pockets whereas Reliance Jio is looking at a pan India launch thereby nullifying Bharti Airtel’s advantage both in terms of coverage and capacity.
In terms of 4G infrastructure, Reliance Jio is far ahead than its nearest competitor, Bharti Airtel. In terms of 4G base stations, Bharti Airtel has 20,000 base stations as of March which is planned to double to 40,000 base stations by FY 2015-16. On the other hand, Reliance Jio is planning to commission more than 100,000 base stations by end-2015. So, Reliance Jio network is 2.5 times more than Bharti Airtel 4G network.
In terms of investment, the Reliance Jio initiative is a Rs 70,000 crore investment and will cover 5,000 towns and cities accounting for over 90 percent of urban India and 215,000 villages in India. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel is planning to invest $3 billion every year on networks alone of which $1 billion or say Rs 6,200 crore per year will go for 4G from FY 2015-16 according to industry experts.
Bharti Airtel on an average has invested around $2 billion in capex in the last three years which has been utilized in 2G, 3G and 4G of which majority capex has been utilized for 3G network.
Capex Investment by Bharti Airtel (in Rs crore)
2012 – 12,815
2013 – 12,645
2014 – 10,584
Source: TeleAnalysis
Airtel partnered with Xiaomi India to launch their 4G device – Redmi Note 4G. Redmi Note 4G is now available across Airtel’s 133 stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. But the company has big plans for handset eco-system.
Recently, Bharti Airtel has announced a strategic collaboration at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona with China Mobile under which both the operators will work towards the growth of LTE eco-system. The two will shape up a joint strategy for procurement of devices that include Mi-Fi, smartphones, data cards, CPEs and USIM.
The partnership with China Mobile will also help in bringing multi-band and multi-mode smartphones at $100. All this will definitely help 4G handset (multi-band and multi-mode) eco-system to be available at attractive prices for Indian market thereby helping not only Bharti Airtel but also Reliance Jio.
In terms of 4G services, Bharti Airtel offers the fastest wireless services with buffer-less HD video streaming and multi-tasking capabilities to its customers but with the coming of Reliance Jio one can witness bouquet of service which will be a mix of voice, data and video depending upon consumers requirement. All this will help in giving a better experience to Reliance Jio subscribers.
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