Airtel signs with Nokia to boost 4G and lay the foundations for 5G

Airtel has announced that it has signed a multi-year deal with Nokia to deploy the network equipment provider’s SRAN solution across 9 circles in India.
India is currently experiencing a massive increase in demand for data services, with traffic increasing 47% in 2019 alone. According to the GSMA, the country is expected to have 920 million mobile customers by 2025, of which 88 million will be 5G connections. Nokia’s SRAN solution will help Airtel address growing demand by adding network capacity and ensuring a superior quality of experience for customers.
The rollout, which will be completed by 2022, will lay the foundations for 5G while also optimising the existing 4G network. Nokia’s SRAN solution will help Airtel manage its networks from one platform, reducing network complexity, increasing cost efficiencies and future-proofing investment. The deal will include Nokia’s RAN equipment, including its AirScale Radio Access, AirScale BaseBand and NetAct OSS solution, which will help Airtel to monitor and manage its network effectively. Nokia Global Services will install, plan and deploy the project, which will be executed via the cloud-based Nokia Delivery Platform. The deal involves 300,000 radio units being deployed across several spectrum bands, including 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia) at Bharti Airtel, commented: “Airtel has consistently topped network performance charts in studies conducted by multiple global experts. We’re committed to continuously investing 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’ve been working with Nokia for more than a decade now and are delighted to use Nokia’s SRAN products to further improve the capacity and coverage of our network as we prepare for the 5G era.”
Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer at Nokia, commented: “We’ve 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.”