Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said that it will invest Rs 25,000 crore in expanding and strengthening its 4G network during the ongoing fiscal year instead of Rs 20,000 crore announced earlier.
“Considering the data explosion in India… to accelerate our 4G roll out in terms of coverage and also build additional capacities in existing geographies..our capex forecast for the year is being upped from initial guidance of Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 25,000 crore,” Bharti Airtel Chief Financial Officer Nilanjan Roy said during earnings call.
The company also said that it is likely to shut down its 3G network in 3-4 years and refarm the spectrum linked with it for 4G services.
“There is almost no spent that we are doing on 3G. Our view is in next 3-4 years we are likely to see 3G network actually shut down faster than 2G network because there are still 50 per cent of phone being shipped out in India that are feature phones,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel, said during earnings call.
He said that the company is investing in 4G technology to build more data capacity in the network. The company will use 2100 megahertz band, which is used for 3G services, for 4G services.
He said that in some telecom circles the company has installed modern 3G equipment which can support 4G services but the initially deployed equipments for 3G services will need to be replaced.