Vodafone Idea has selected Swedish vendor Ericsson to deploy its 5G-ready radio system and microwave backhaul solutions across selected markets in India. The upgrade will improve the cellco’s LTE capabilities and enable a future transition to 5G through remote software installation. According to the vendor, the technology will also improve the spectral and energy efficiency of the cellco’s network, whilst also increasing overall capacity. Vodafone Idea is currently in the process of consolidating the networks of its recently-merged predecessors Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. The process is expected to take until June 2020, and will see the company exit around 90,000 sites to cut duplication and lower expenditure.
Whilst the upgrade will smooth the operator’s transition to 5G, the company has made it clear that it does not intend to make that leap for some time. CTO Vishrant Vora was quoted by the Economic Times as saying that India should delay auctioning 5G spectrum until after 2020, to provide sufficient time for the technology to mature and for the telco and its partners to develop India-specific use cases.