Bharti Airtel has signed a nearly ₹7,500 crore deal with Nokia in order to strengthen its 4G network and enhance 5G capabilities in India to boost network capacity and customer experience.
Bharti Airtel also announced a multi-year agreement to deploy Nokia's Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) solution across nine circles in India, helping Airtel to enhance the network capacity of its networks, in particular 4G, and improve customer experience.
The Nokia supplied networks with their low latency and faster speeds will provide Airtel the best possible platform for when 5G networks launch across the country. Nokia's SRAN solution will help Airtel to address this growing demand by adding network capacity and ensuring a superior quality of experience to its customers.
Nokia, which is the largest 4G vendor in the Airtel network, will help lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future by deploying 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands in those circles expected to be completed by 2022. According to sources the deal size is around Rs 7,500 crore ($1 billion).
"The rollout, which will also lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future, will see approximately 300,000 radio units deployed across several spectrum bands, including 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz and 2300 Mhz, and is expected to be completed by 2022," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
India currently is the second-largest telecom market in the world and is expected to reach 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025, which will also include 88 million 5G connections according to the GSMA. The country is experiencing a massive increase in demand for data services with traffic increasing by 47 per cent in 2019 alone, according to Nokia's MBiT Index 2020.
The deal comes against the backdrop of Facebook acquiring a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms for $5.76 billion.
(with agencies input)