Bharti Enterprises’ Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, while talking about Adani Group’s entry in the 5G spectrum space, said that he welcomes all his competitors to the race, but he would have preferred to serve the Adani Group for its spectrum needs.
The Adani group entered the industrial 5G space this year after acquiring 400 MHz of spectrum in the 5G airwaves auction held recently. The group has spent Rs 212 crore for the spectrum in the 26 GHz band.
“I would love to serve Adani’s needs. But if he wants to do it himself, and not take any assistance from us, I will be fine. But to my mind, we will be serving his ports, airports, and other industrial needs in a better way because I feel we can do it better,” Mittal said during Business Today’s India At 100 Economy Summit held in Delhi on Friday.
“If you see in Germany, BMW has tied up with Vodafone despite having its own spectrum. Vodafone is doing its tech related stack and services. I hope we can do that for him (Adani).”
Talking about top players in the spectrum business, Mittal said the telecom segment is for those who have deeper pockets. “Telecom segment is not meant for the first-generation entrepreneurs as currently there are only two in the world - US’s Craig McCaw and the other one being Bharti Airtel. This is because the telecom business is only for individuals with a deep pocket,” he explained.
“If we, after 25 years of being in the telecom sector, cannot go and win in the marketplace because other dominant people will come and be in the market, we have no right to be in this business,” Mittal said. “We must be best in class, rest will follow,” he added.
Recently, Adani Data Networks Ltd, a unit of Adani Enterprises Ltd, bought the right to use 400MHz of spectrum in the 26GHz millimetre wave band for 20 years. The group bought less than one per cent of all spectrum sold in the auction and its purchase price was a fraction of Rs 1.5 lakh crore bids that the government received.
The company had said that it will digitally integrate its businesses, link data centres, build globally largest industrial cloud operations, and develop a super app to offer a suite of services across its 400-million customer base.
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Talking about Jio Reliance’s dominance in the field, Mittal said that his company might not match their capital strength, but in terms of technology and services, Airtel can give Jio tough competition.
“In terms of capital, I don't think so we can match that. They will always have much more capital as they (Reliance Jio) are a larger house. Therefore, you know your limitations." But for technology and services, “I think we can take them (Jio) head on and better,” Mittal said, adding that ours (Airtel 5G services) "will be best in class".
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