Vi set for 5G rollout: CEO Takkar

By VARINDIA - 2021-02-17

Vi set for 5G rollout: CEO Takkar

Vodafone Idea Ltd (Vi) recently said it is prepared for the rollout of 5G wireless services, after rival Bharti Airtel Ltd recently announced that its network is ready for a commercial launch of the technology as soon as the government permits and the spectrum is available.

 

“We are deploying equipment which is 5G-ready, both on radio and core… The country’s 5G ecosystem is still nascent but we are well prepared for 5G rollout whenever the ecosystem develops," Ravinder Takkar, managing director (MD) and chief executive (CEO), Vi, said at a post-earnings investor call. The spectrum bands 3,300MHz to 3,600MHz earmarked for 5G are expensive, Takkar told analysts. Besides, lack of clarity on use cases and technology and an underdeveloped ecosystem could impact the launch. Vi is in active discussions with potential investors for proposed fundraising of up to ₹25,000 crore in debt and equity, Takkar said. The talks with investors are “progressing well and we expect to conclude this (fundraising) soon", he said. The telco is “very well engaged" with various potential investors, who have shown interest in the process, he said.

 

The cash-strapped telco had announced its fundraising plans in September 2020.

 

Takkar said the telco will participate in the upcoming spectrum auction and has deposited earnest money to the department of telecommunications. However, Takkar did not share the telco’s auction strategy and acquisition plans given the “sensitivity" of the subject.

 

Vi continues to re-farm its 3G spectrum to 4G, and aims to close 3G service by the end of financial year 2022, said Akshaya Moondra, chief financial officer, Vi.


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