Nokia bags US$1 billion deal from Airtel in India

Yesterday, Bharti Airtel, the world’s second-largest telecom operator in the world, announced that they have signed a new contract with its long-term partner, Nokia in India. Confirming that, today, Nokia sent out a press release about the multi-year deal. Airtel will use Nokia’s SRAN solution for FDD-LTE and TD-LTE in nine of its telecom circles, establishing the framework for the future 5G services with low latency and faster speeds, especially in the rural areas.

As per an industrial source, the value of this deal is about US$1 billion. And, this deal is in continuation to the original 4G deal that Airtel had signed with Nokia in 2019, valued at US$500 million. This time, Airtel was looking out for reduced prices and hence, renegotiations were going on for quite a long time, but then they finally landed on this deal with Nokia. Airtel is also in talks with Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE for their 13 other telecom circles.

In this deal, Nokia will also supply its RAN equipment, including its AirScale Radio Access, AirScale BaseBand, and NetAct OSS solution. The roll-out is expected to be completed by 2022. During the period, they will deploy about 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands, including 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, and 2300 Mhz. Nokia Global Services will likewise assume a pivotal job in the establishment, arrangement, and organization of the task, which will be executed through the cloud-based Nokia Delivery Platform.

Currently, India is the second-largest telecoms market in the world and is expected to reach 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025, which will also include 88 million 5G connections according to the GSMA Intelligence. And as Nokia says, operators using its SRAN solution can control their 2G, 3G, and 4G networks from a single platform, address the growing demand, decreasing network complications, increasing cost efficiencies, and future-sealing investment. Hence, operators can easily make the transition to 5G.

After losing out on two major deals in China, this deal will give some relief to Nokia. To be precise, Nokia has been involved with Airtel for more than a decade now, and this deal shows the trust that operators have in Nokia.

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