Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) is likely to lag in terms of commercial 5G rollout as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio continue to expand their coverage, a report by Emkay stated. The telco will only be able to cover some of the 17 priority circles during the initial launch, causing it to lag further behind its rivals despite its investment in 5G rollout, the report added.

Further, the analysis showed that Vi would only be able to rollout 5G in 10 circles across the seven states with its annual internal accrual of around Rs 83 billion (without fundraising), as Nokia and Ericsson have stepped back from supplying 5G gear to Vi on credit. Emkay added it would mean 15 per cent 5G coverage for Vi. Even if Vi were to raise funds to invest in all 17 priority circles, it will not be able to match Airtel’s rollout in those circles, while falling significantly short of Jio’s base station deployments.

The Emkay analysis concluded that Vi would need to raise approximately $10 billion for a meaningful 5G rollout.  Even with the external fund and some fund infusion by the promoters, Vi will be able to deploy only around 47,000 base transceiver stations in its 17 priority circles where Jio already has over 200,000, the report added.