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Vodafone Idea 5G launch nears as KM Birla Signals imminent rollout

The launch of 5G by Vodafone Idea has remained uncertain due to the intricate nature of the Indian private telecom entity formed through the amalgamation of Vodafone and Idea. Despite currently delivering 2G, 3G, and 4G services, the lack of comprehensive VoLTE and VoWiFi provisions.

Written By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: August 17, 2023 13:16 IST
vodafone india, vodafone idea, vodafone, km birla, telecom
Image Source : VODAFONE IDEA Vodafone Idea 5G to launch soon, KM Birla signals

Vodafone Idea's 5G rollout has been a topic of uncertainty, given the complexities surrounding India's private telecom company formed from the merger of Vodafone and Idea. Presently providing 2G, 3G, and 4G services, the absence of comprehensive VoLTE and VoWiFi offerings mirrors the telco's challenges after years of the merger.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, speaking at the AIMA Awards, has indicated that the awaited Vodafone Idea 5G rollout will soon commence, as reported by CNBC-TV18. Birla had expressed a similar sentiment in an interview back in October 2022. However, a specific timeline for the 5G launch remains undisclosed.

The Indian government has granted equity conversion approval based on the promoters' commitments to inject significant investments into the company while fulfilling the obligation to introduce 5G services as part of their licensing agreements.

Birla's unwavering commitment to Vodafone Idea has been consistent, although there has been limited clarity regarding investments or the company's roadmap to address existing debts. While competitors Airtel and Jio are actively introducing 5G services, Vodafone Idea faces a recurring pattern of subscriber loss, nearing the two-year mark. Recent TRAI data reveals that the telco lost over 1.3 million subscribers, especially in January 2023. In comparison, Vodafone Idea's active subscribers (VLR percentage) in January 2023 stood at 87.15, while Airtel's recorded the highest at 99.30.

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Despite offering competitive tariffs in the market, unique among Indian telcos, Vodafone Idea is grappling with diminishing customer trust and perceived service quality issues, driving the ongoing subscriber erosion. The company, grappling with escalating losses each quarter, has yet to unveil a definitive revival strategy, 5G launch plan, or investment commitment. Updates mainly revolve around the company's engagements with 5G device vendors and mobile handset support, providing limited clarity to concerned customers.

The forthcoming 5G rollout, as indicated by Birla, raises hopes for Vodafone Idea's resurgence. However, details surrounding its execution and the overarching strategy to reverse subscriber losses and secure a stable financial position remain pivotal for the telco's future trajectory.

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