Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal (pictured) has joined in with calls to keep the floor price of 5G airwaves affordable in India’s upcoming auction, a move the billionaire said will enable the telecom sector to focus on investments to expand services and boost speeds.
A more affordable base price would be beneficial to Bharti Airtel and cash-strapped Vodafone, both were hit by new player Reliance Jio and its super competitive propositions of cheap data and free calls.
The Indian market was saturated with dozens of players but many quit the market or went bankrupt due to Reliance’s aggressive pricing.
“I will say 5G is important and that’s why we keep on requesting the government to make the 5G as an enabler for 100s of things that we develop in the country, to keep the spectrum at affordable pricing and not load the industry too much because it is a very highly capital intensive industry,” said Mittal, reported Bloomberg.
“Let’s use that money into more rollouts, faster radio networks, covering more cities in the shortest possible time frame rather than getting burdened by the spectrum costs.”
Mittal's comments also come after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended the floor price for 5G spectrum be significantly cut. Airtel recently received a cash injection of US$1bn from Google.