Airtel Enterprise Business CEO, Telecom News, ET Telecom

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel said that the 5G technology is expected to generate more revenue in the B2B segment compared to the B2C segment in the coming year and it is actively engaged with nearly 50 companies across multiple industries to co-develop 5G business use cases.

“We have active conversations with nearly 50 people across multiple industries to co-develop use cases from manufacturing to healthcare to banking…in the year ahead, there is a lot of expectation that 5G will make more money in B2B than B2C. And it’s our job to make it happen.” Ganesh Lakshmi NarayananCEO on Airtel Enterprise Business told ET in an interaction.

He said 5G presents a huge opportunity for enterprises to digitize the entire back end, including factories, warehouses, supply chain and ports. “I think 5G will provide a huge opportunity. Each industry thinks about what problems they could solve with 5G.”

The Sunil Mittal-led telecom operator aims to roll out 5G in all metropolitan areas by September 2023, while its larger rival Trust Jio expect to do the same in May and an India-wide rollout in December. Vodafone ideaon the other hand, has not announced its 5G plans.

The executive added that it is “very unusual” for our country to have so much infrastructure available before there is a demand for it. “We never build infrastructure ahead of demand… telcos have built huge infrastructure, I would say ahead of demand, and companies are thinking about how to leverage it.”

Airtel is also optimistic about the possibility of a private 5G network in India. “It is our top priority to bring 5G private networks to factories, ports and mines. We are putting a lot more emphasis on B2B versus B2C when it comes to 5G…our market is responding and you will soon see real-life use cases.”

The director said that the entire ecosystem needs to be developed in addition to solving the device-related challenges. “The biggest blockage is that 5G devices are still not ready. But it’s a matter of time. I think once it hits the market, we’ll have some initial use cases in the market.

“…five years later 5G will reach the maturity level and then we can say how much our lives have been changed by 5G. The way we travel, learn, get our healthcare, and the way our factories produce and pack stuff is going to fundamentally change,” he added.

He believes video will become the “killer” platform to enable various 5G use cases. “Anything related to video is going to be a great app.”