Data capacities for telcos, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, will nearly treble by March 2024, based on a report by IIFL Securities. Based on interactions with the telecom companies, the capital market research firm noted that the brisk rollout of 5G will result in the near trebling of data capacities. “Our channel checks suggest the brisk 5G rollout by the top two telcos and 5G location count target of 200,000/150,000 by December 2023 and March 2024 for Reliance Jio and Bharti. Our calculations suggest that the total capacity of Jio and Bharti would rise to 849/566 PB-per-day by March 2024 versus the estimated 264/232 PB-perday in September 2022,” noted the report.

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The top two telcos have talked about rapid 5G rollout, with Jio targeting pan-India 5G coverage by December 2023 and Bharti aiming for 5G coverage in top 5,000 towns and cities by March 2024. Both telcos have awarded their 5G equipment contracts and already begun 5G network rollouts. 

According to IIFL, Jio and Bharti have already reached 10,000/7,500 unique 5G locations. IIFL notes that if Bharti does not purchase 700MHz spectrum, their capital expenditure will be nearly 50 per cent lesser than Jio for 5G services.

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IIFL also noted that both telcos are augmenting their 4G capacity, as they deploy top-up 4G spectrum purchased in July 2022 auctions. The research firm also noted that there is no pressing need for Bharti Airtel to set up a standalone 5G instalment, and no immediate use cases for standalone 5G deployment will arise for the next 18 months. “In our view, the SA network may have no tangible benefits in next 18 months; however, Bharti will have to deploy SA network in the medium term,” said IIFL.