Bharti Airtel has signed a network deployment deal with Nokia Networks to install and maintain 4G services in three new circles. Nokia’s networking arm already serves 4G services for Bharti Airtel in six circles since September 2015, and with the new network roll out, Nokia will focus on better delivery of video content and other streaming applications and services. An ET report pegged the size of the deal at $500 million
In total, Nokia will deploy its 4G FDD-LTE & TD-LTE technology across 9 circles of Bharti Airtel’s operations in India including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rest of Bengal, Odisha, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala and UP East. It will also expand Airtel’s 3G network in 8 regions as part of this rollout and upgrade legacy 2G Base Transceiver Stations.
Nokia will also provide maintenance services and other networking services including network integration and network planning and optimization. The network roll out will primary be based on Nokia’s radio access with Single RAN technology for FDD-LTE and TD-LTE
In January last year, Nokia bagged FDD-LTE and TD-LTE network deployment contract for Airtel in 6 circles under the 1800 MHz band and on the 2300 MHz band. Services from Nokia also included Cloud-ready network management system, NetAct, for network monitoring and optimization of the LTE network.
Bharti Airtel bought RS 14.2 crore worth of spectrum in 2016 auctions
For this year’s auctions, Bharti Airtel had acquired 173.8 Mhz of spectrum across the 1800, 2100, 2300 MHz bands for a total amount of Rs 14,244 crore. It acquired 130 MHz of the 2300 MHz spectrum for Rs 7000 Crore in 13 circles; a total of 18.80 MHz of the 1800 MHZ spectrum for Rs 2396 crore in 8 circles; and 5.00 MHz of the 2100 MHz spectrum for Rs 4840 crore in 5 circles.
Airtel subscriber numbers
For the quarter between March to June 2016, Airtel’s total data connections increased by 1.2% QoQ to 58.90 million; total Broadband Connections increased by 3.1% QoQ to 36.57 million. Its 2G Data connections decreased by -1.9% QoQ to 22.33 million. Note that Airtel had stopped disclosing the number of 3G connections, and the last estimated figure is from 8 months ago, when it had 28.09 million 3G connections, and 2.78 million 4G connections.