Nokia bags 4G deployment deal from Airtel of worth USD 500 million

The country’s leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel has awarded a big-ticket 4G deployment and expansion contract worth around USD 500 million to Finnish telecom gear vendor Nokia. By this contract, Bharti Airtel is expediting its network expansion and ramping up capacities to counter the looming threat from new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, which is currently providing free services as a welcome offer in the country.
The new deal with Nokia will help the Airtel for deployment of 4G technology in three new circles in addition to six circles it already serves. Nokia will deploy its 4G FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE technology across nine of the circles in India of Airtel including the regions of Maharashtra, Mumbai, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rest of Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and UP East, serving major cities such as Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Siliguri and Patna.
Analysys Mason’s head for India and South Asia, Rohan Dhamija said that the contract is reflective of the trends and technology advancements in data market. On demand side, consumer are going to use more data, while on the supply side, standards are getting evolved. “Given the expected data boom, and carrier aggregation across FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE, this expansion becomes relevant for Airtel,” Dhamija added. .
The new deployment will allow Bharti Airtel to provide improved indoor/outdoor coverage and faster mobile Internet access, video services and other on-demand services and applications. This will help the Airtel to provide high quality of service and superfast internet to compete with Reliance Jio Infocomm.
“We are pleased to continue to leverage Nokia’s leading radio access technology and services expertise to expand 4G capacity and coverage and further increase the quality of service for subscribers,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
Sanjay Malik, head of India Market at Nokia said, “We have a long history of working with Bharti Airtel and with this latest agreement we have become the largest supplier of 4G for the company. This network expansion will provide the capacity, coverage and speeds the company needs to meet the next wave of data demand in India.”
In the recent Auction of October 2016, Bharti Airtel has acquired 173.8 Mhz spectrum across three spectrum bands that include 1800 MHz (B3), 2100 MHz (B1) and 2300 MHz (B40) for a total of INR 14, 244 crore. It further strengthened its pan-India spectrum portfolio and secured its spectrum requirements for the next 20 years, and has airwaves across 4G and 3G spectrum in all circles. Airtel provides 2G, 3G and 4G services in addition to fixed line broad-band and DTH services.

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