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A deal of Rs.7,636 crore signed by Airtel with Nokia to get ready for 5G era

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CIO Insider Team

Working towards strengthening its 4G network and enhancing 5G capabilities in India, Bharti Airtel has made concrete a USD 1 billion (nearly Rs.7,636 crore), multi-year deal with Nokia to deploy the Finnish majors 5G-ready solutions across nine circles in the country.

Nokia, the largest 4G vendor in Airtel network, will assist in laying the foundation for enabling 5G connectivity in the future by deploying 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands in the circles expected to be completed by 2022.
According to reliable industry source, the deal size is approximately $1 billion, as told to us on Tuesday.

"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 and CEO (India and South Asia) at Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

Nokia's SRAN solution is very helpful for operators to manage their 2G, 3G and 4G networks from one platform reducing network complexity, increasing cost efficiencies and future-proofing investment. This Finnish multinational telecommunications, informatio will be the sole provider of SRAN in the nine circles in the country.

With their low latency and faster speeds, the Nokia supplied networks will provide Airtel the best possible platform for when 5G networks launch across the country.

"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," explained Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer at Nokia.

Currently, 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 according to the GSMA.

Driven by the massive increase in demand for data services, India is experienced a traffic increasing by 47 per cent in 2019 alone, according to Nokia's MBiT Index 2020.

Nokia's SRAN solution will arm Airtel with the tools to address this growing demand by adding network capacity and ensuring a superior quality of experience to its customers.

According to sources, the deal will also 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.

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