The Finnish giant will deploy 300,000 new radio units across India in the next two years
Nokia has announced it has signed a significant, multi-year contract with Indian operator Bharti Airtel to boost their network capacity.
The deal will see Nokia deploy 300,000 new radio units across the country by 2022, focussing on 9 of the 22 ‘circles’ into which the country is divided by India’s telecommunications regulator.
The new units comprise Nokia’s Single RAN solution, which allows for the management of 2G, 3G, and 4G networks from one platform, therefore simplifying the network and increasing cost efficiency.
For now, the new radio units will primarily boost Airtel’s capacity for 4G, but, with the advent of 5G soon approaching, this additional infrastructure will leave Airtel much better positioned to adopt the next generation more quickly in future.
"This is an important agreement for the future of connectivity in one of the world’s largest telecoms markets and solidifies our position in India," outgoing CEO Rajeev Suri said. “This project will enhance their current networks and deliver best-in-class connectivity to Airtel customers but also lay the foundations for 5G services in the future.”
While no official figures ahve been announced, experts are estimating the value of this contract at around $1 billion.
The deal comes as a much-needed win for Nokia, having suffered in the 5G race against rivals Huawei and Ericsson over the last six months. The company was forced to reduce its 2020 earnings forecast back in October, causing discontented murmurs as to whether it was falling behind its competitors, especially when it comes to 5G.
With India the second largest telecoms market in the world, a firm position within this booming market will be key for Nokia to offset other markets in which it is losing out to its rivals. In China, Nokia recently missed out on a piece of a huge contract for China Mobile, leading to Nokia China’s CEO penning an open letter
to address their ‘failure’.
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