Indian telco Bharti Airtel has signed a network expansion programme estimated to be worth around USD1 billion with Finnish vendor Nokia. The agreement covers the deployment of Nokia’s Single RAN (SRAN) solution across nine circles to enhance capacity and lay the foundations for a future upgrade to 5G, and is expected to be completed by 2022. The programme will see approximately 300,000 radio units deployed across several bands, including the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz ranges. According to Nokia, its SRAN system reduces network complexity and helps cut costs and future-proof investment by allowing operators to manage their 2G, 3G and 4G networks from one platform. In addition, the vendor notes that the deal also includes other Nokia RAN products such as AirScale Radio Access, AirScale BaseBand and NetAct OSS solution, which will help the cellco monitor and manage its network.
Commenting on the expansion programme, CEO of Airtel India and South Asia Gopal Vittal was quoted as saying: ‘We are committed to continuously invest in emerging network technologies to provide a best-in-class experience to our customers. This initiative with Nokia is a major step in this direction. 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.’