Home / Industry / Telecom /  Airtel’s 5G services may not be priced at a premium

Bharti Airtel’s latest 5G network may not be priced at a premium to 4G services as the number of 5G devices in the country are currently less than 10% of the total smartphone user base, a top company executive said.

Airtel’s 5G network will be accessible on all Samsung and Xiaomi smartphones that are 5G ready within this month, said the executive, adding that the carrier will decide on its tariffs in the next few days.

“In October, all Samsung and Xiaomi (5G) phones will be enabled and more devices will be ready next month... we will be communicating to customers which phones will work on 5G and which won’t on our website which will begin next couple of days," the executive said, requesting anonymity, as he sought to allay concerns of users who own 5G devices but are unable to ascertain whether they can access 5G network so far in select cities where it is being rolled out initially. Some of them using the latest iPhone 14 models took to Twitter to point out the issue.

The executive said Apple would have to issue a software upgrade to enable models lower than the iPhone 14 so that customers can use 5G as and when the carrier rolls out its services.

“Apple is also doing their final testing. We’re working with them as well," the executive added.

The availability of 5G smartphones is critical to a broader roll out of the new technology.

Experts are predicting a swift uptake of 5G service once it is launched. Industry executives say that 5G device adoption is expected to rise to 20% of the total smartphone user base of about 750-800 million.

Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have announced that they will start their services this month, with Airtel launching first in Delhi, Mumbai, and Varanasi among eight cities. RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani announced on Saturday that Jio’s 5G services will be most affordable globally.


Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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