Bharti Airtel has got into a multi-year agreement with Finnish company Nokia to boost its network capacity, in particular 4G, and improve customer experience.
According to a joint statement, Airtel will deploy Nokia’s Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) solution across 9 circles in India.
“The rollout, which will also lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future, will see approximately 3,00,000 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,” the statement read.
These Nokia supplied networks will give Airtel the best possible platform when 5G networks launch across the country, with their low latency and faster speeds, it added.
A source told news agency AFP said that the deal is valued at almost $1 billion, around Rs 7,636 crores.
“This is an important agreement for the future of connectivity in one of the world’s largest telecoms markets and solidifies our position in India,” President and Chief Executive Officer at Nokia Rajeev Suri said.
He said the project will enhance Airtel’s current network and help the telecom operator deliver best-in-class connectivity to its customers.
“This initiative with Nokia is a major step in this direction. We have been working with Nokia for more than a decade now and are delighted to use Nokia’s SRAN products in further improving the capacity and coverage of our network as we prepare for the 5G era,” MD & CEO (India and South Asia) at Bharti Airtel Gopal Vittal said.
A report in Economic Times said the renegotiations were on for some time where Airtel was seeking reduced prices under the newly constructed agreement.
Such talks are already on with other vendors like Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE in their respective circles where Airtel is seeking new prices, the report added.
As per GSMA, India 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.