Finnish telecom gear maker firm Nokia has bagged a ₹7,500 crore deal from Bharti Airtel to deploy 5G ready network across nine service areas in the country.
Under the deal, Nokia will deploy 3 lakh base stations for 4G services which can be upgraded to 5G network once the spectrum is available for the next generation service, according to the announcement made by Bharti Airtel on Tuesday (April 28).
Bharti Airtel announced a multi-year agreement to deploy Nokia’s Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) solution across nine circles in India, helping the telcos to enhance the network capacity of its networks, in particular 4G, and improve customer experience.
According to sources, the deal size is around ₹7,500 crore.
“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,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
This is the first network expansion deal of the year and during the lockdown period, when demand for high speed data has increased by about 20 per cent at pan-India level.
“We are committed to continuously invest in emerging network technologies to provide a best-in-class experience to our 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,” Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia) at Bharti Airtel, said.
The deal includes network expansion in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and UP East. These circles jointly account for more than half of Bharti Airtel subscribers and the deal consolidates Nokia as lead network vendor for the Sunil Bharti Mittal-led firm.
“This is an important agreement for the future of connectivity in one of the world’s largest telecom markets and solidifies our position in India. We have worked closely with Bharti Airtel for many years and are delighted to extend this long-standing partnership further.
“This project will enhance their current networks and deliver best-in-class connectivity to Airtel customers but also lay the foundations for 5G services in the future,” Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer at Nokia said.
According to global telecom body GSMA, India is the second largest telecom market in the world and is expected to reach 92 crore unique mobile customers by 2025, which will also include 8.8 crore 5G connections.
Nokia’s MBiT Index 2020 found a massive increase in demand for data services with traffic increasing by 47 per cent in 2019 alone. The work from home culture induced during the lockdown is expected to push the data demand further.