Indian cellco Bharti Airtel has signed a four-year deal with Nokia Networks to roll out 3G infrastructure in five new circles and to expand its network in three existing areas. The cellco currently offers 3G services over its own network in 14 circles, whilst the remaining eight are served via intra-circle roaming (ICR) pacts with Idea Cellular and Vodafone India. Following the March 2015 spectrum auction, however, Airtel announced that it was looking to exit the ICR agreements by end-March 2016. The deal encompasses network planning, optimisation and implementation as well as project management and care services, including hardware and software maintenance. In terms of equipment, the Finnish vendor will supply its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station and Flexi Lite Base Station, the latter of which is optimised for indoor and outdoor micro-cell deployments with superior capacity and coverage in densely crowded areas, a flexible multi-technology, all-IP multicontroller Radio Network Controller (mcRNC) and its NetAct operations support system (OSS).
Abhay Savargaonkar, Bharti Airtel’s director of network services commented on the deal: ‘The Indian telecom environment is currently experiencing a rapid increase in the uptake of data-centric services. As market leaders, we at Airtel are deeply committed to delivering the best data experience for smartphone users and making continued network investments to help us realise the vast potential of this data opportunity.’