Airtel Likely to Become the Largest 5G Service Provider in the World

Bharti Airtel, a leading telecom operator in India, has a presence in several countries spanning different continents. The telecom giant has already started providing 5G in the Indian market. Earlier in January, Airtel Africa got 5G spectrum to start 5G services. Just like this, the telco and telecom companies owned by it would start 5G services in different parts of the world. Vodafone Group is big, but the way Airtel is expanding, there could be a scenario where it becomes the largest service provider in the world. Vodafone Group-owned Vodafone Idea is very far from launching 5G in the Indian market.

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Airtel has Already Expanded 5G to 67 in India

Airtel’s 5G is already present in over 67 cities in India. By the end of FY24 (March 2024), Airtel is likely to reach most of India with 5G networks. By the end of this decade, if Airtel is one of the two major 5G players in India, that would mean access to close to 350 million 5G users. Ericsson said that by the end of 2028, India is expected to have about 570 million 5G users. By 2030 end, the number should comfortably grow to the range of 650-700 million. Thus, if Airtel even had half of the 5G market share, it would mean that the telco would have around 350 million 5G users.

India is already the second-largest telecom market in the world. As the population goes up and smartphone access reaches more users, it would mean that the market size for telecom companies in India would grow.

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But Airtel is not only big in India. It is already one of the largest telecom operators in Africa. Airtel Africa recently reported PAT (profit after tax) of $523 million. Then Airtel also has several owned telecom companies in different international markets. Combining India, Africa, and other markets, by the end of the decade, Airtel could be serving close to 1 billion customers with 5G.

Now, this number that I have thrown here could be well off from reality in both ways, including – a) it is more than the actual figures or b) it is less than the actual figures. We will have to wait till 2030 to find this out. But one thing is for sure, Airtel is building a massive global operation, and it is not just relying on the consumer business but also scaling the B2B operations.

Bharti Airtel has already left a major footprint in the global market, but in the years to come, with more investments and expansion, it will definitely be one of the largest telecom groups in the world.