According to a A report in the Economic Times (ET)., Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are likely to launch their 5G services at prices similar to 4G services offered by telcos in the country. The report, quoting industry executives and analysts, said the launch of 5G services at prices similar to 4G would encourage mass adoption in the country.
Telcos are unlikely to go for premium prices for 5G services in the early days as they look to push 4G users to adapt to the next-generation mobile network. According to the report, experts suggest that telcos may consider premium pricing for 5G services after a specific customer acquisition to establish differentiation in services. But that won’t happen anytime soon, as 5G handsets are still quite expensive.
5G Price in India: What Experts Say
“5G operators are unlikely to charge a premium over 4G rates initially as their immediate objective is to drive 5G adoption, get more users to experience faster speeds, consume more data and gradually increase ARPU growth,” Rohan Dhamija, India Head at Analysis Mason was quoted as saying.
Dhamija also gave the UK example where 5G services were launched at a premium to 4G, but the premium was withdrawn as the strategy hampered 5G adoption in the region.
The report also quoted a top executive of one of the Big 3 telecom operators as saying that the companies will be cautious about pricing as premium pricing is likely to shift to consumers. “Consumers in urban markets will also not pay a premium unless the 5G value-add is significantly higher than the current 4G data offers,” ET quoted the executive as saying.
Kunal Vora, head of India equity research at BNP Paribas, said 5G adoption levels would suffer if telecom operators priced 5G services higher than 4G. He said 5G adoption is still in the single digits because there isn’t a large use case right now.
Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon told 91mobiles Earlier in July, Airtel’s 5G plans in India were priced at the same price as the 4G plans that consumers are currently paying.
5G services will be launched in October, limited to some pockets
ET reports that initial 5G coverage will be limited to a few pockets where the first wave of launches will take place. Airtel and Jio are said to launch their first 5G services in October and cash-strapped Vodafone Idea (Vi) has not set an exact timeline for the 5G rollout.
Reliance Jio made the announcement during its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Called Jio True 5G, the company’s 5G services will be available by Diwali this year i.e. in October next month. Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal announced that Airtel is ready to launch its 5G services within a month. In an email sent to all Airtel customers earlier this month, Vittal urged Airtel customers to go for 5G-enabled smartphones when looking for a new phone.