Vodafone Idea (VI) is reaching final talks with multiple network vendors to finalise its 5G rollout plans, The Economic Times (ET) reported. To this end, the telecommunications company has completed device testing of all major original equipment makers (OEMs) for its upcoming mobile broadband network, VI informed in its annual report for FY23.
Vodafone Idea's chairman Ravinder Takkar said that the company is committed to extending its 4G coverage and launching 5G services in the country.
Talking about Vodafone's future plans, Takkar said, "The Company will remain focused on providing superior data and voice experience and building a differentiated digital experience through its several strategic initiatives as well as continue to make investments for expanding 4G coverage and capacity, especially in its 17 priority circles and introduce 5G services once funding is in place."
In the annual report filing, the company said it is in contact with lenders and investors to raise funds for expanding its operations.
The VI annual report added, "Your company has made select 5G clusters in Delhi and Pune where it had partnered with various OEMs to test the compatibility of available 5G handsets."
Significantly, the two heavyweights in the telecom sector, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, are already moving towards 5G expansion and have an advantage compared to Vodafone Idea.
On the other hand, VI has not announced its 5G launch timeline, thanks to the delay in external fundraising. The company is struggling to raise Rs 20,000 crore, which it has been trying to do for more than a year now, the ET report said.
Speaking on the current telecom market in the country, VI's chairman Takkar said that telecom tariffs remain unsustainable and need to rise significantly for business to thrive. He said that tariffs need to increase for telcos to invest in next-generation technologies.