Indian cellco Bharti Airtel has agreed to a strategic collaboration with China Mobile under which the two companies will work together to help develop the Long Term Evolution (LTE) ecosystem and establish technology standards. The two companies are also planning to create a joint strategy for procuring devices such as smartphones and data cards as well as Mi-Fi and other LTE devices. China Mobile and Airtel plan to share network and ‘product knowledge… best practices and technical learnings.’ The duo will also work together on the development of relevant technical standards and interoperability testing. The two cellcos, which represent a combined total of more than one billion users across India and China, are both founding members of the Global Time Division (TD)-LTE Initiative (GTI) and as such have agreed to cooperate on the promotion of a robust ecosystem to promote the commercialisation of TD-LTE and 4.5G/5G technologies.
Bharti Airtel’s CEO and chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said in a statement: ‘India and China account for nearly a third of all the mobile subscribers globally and this partnership will provide a major platform for development and deployment of 4G and future mobile technology standards as both countries enter a phase of explosive date-led growth. We are confident that the exchange of best practices and innovations will help in delivering affordable high speed mobile internet to the masses and contribute to the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ vision.’
In a related development, Airtel has also extended its managed services partnership with Ericsson for two more years. Under the terms of the deal the Swedish vendor will manage the provider’s 2G, 3G, 4G, Local Area Network (LAN)/Wide Area Network (WAN) and Wi-Fi systems in 15 circles.