Bharti Airtel has signed 5G network agreements with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to commence 5G deployment in August 2022. The 5G partnerships follow closely on the heels of spectrum auctions conducted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India, where Airtel bid for and acquired 19867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz frequencies.
Commenting on the agreements, Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive officer, Airtel, said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August. Our network agreements are finalised and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to our consumers. India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom and 5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India.”
Choice of multiple partners will enable Airtel to roll out 5G services spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities, which will enable a superior user experience and allow the pursuit of new, innovative use cases with enterprise and industry customers.
Meanwhile, Börje Ekholm, President and chief executive officer, Ericsson, said, “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivalled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realise its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”
The multi-year deal will see Nokia provide equipment from its market-leading AirScale portfolio along with solutions and services for network management, deployment, planning and optimisation services to ensure the best end-user experiences.
According to Pekka Lundmark, president and chief executive officer, Nokia, “This landmark deal reinforces our long-standing partnership with Bharti Airtel. We are delighted that they have chosen Nokia’s best-in-class AirScale baseband and radio portfolio to deliver superior 5G performance in one of the world’s largest networks. I look forward to our continued successful long-term collaboration in this vital and dynamic market.”
Airtel will also bring in South Korean Major Samsung as a network partner to deploy #Airtel5G. This is the first time that both companies will work together.
Additionally, Paul (Kyungwhoon) Cheun, president and head, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics, said, “5G will have a powerful impact on India’s consumers and businesses—taking mobile experiences to a new level, introducing a gamut of enhanced capabilities and expanding what is possible. As a global leader in 5G, Samsung is excited to embark on this 5G journey with Airtel to deliver innovative solutions that will help advance India’s entrepreneurial spirit and open up a new paradigm for the country.”
Over the past year, Airtel has led the industry and spearheaded 5G technology in India testing several use cases with multiple partners at many locations. From demonstrating India’s first 5G experience over a live 4G network in Hyderabad to India’s first rural 5G trial to the first cloud gaming experience on 5G to the successful deployment of India’s first captive private network on the trial spectrum, Airtel has created and nurtured a vibrant ecosystem of partners and start-ups to support faster adoption of next-generation technologies.