Within days of bidding for spectrum in auctions, Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced it has signed 5G network agreements with gear makers Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung to commence deployment this month.
Airtel highlighted its long-standing relationship for connectivity and pan-India managed services with Ericsson and Nokia while stating that partnership with Samsung will begin this year onwards.
The Sunil Mittal-led firm recently acquired 19,867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands, bolstering its spectrum holding.
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Bharti Airtel, which acquired spectrum worth Rs. 43,084 crore in the just-concluded auction, had said it is well-positioned to usher in the 5G revolution in India.
Gopal Vittal, CEO of Airtel, said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August.” Vittal said the network agreements are finalised and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to its consumers.
“India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom and 5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India,” Vittal added.
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Choice of multiple partners would enable Airtel to roll out 5G services spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities, the company said.
Earlier this week, the Department of Telecom (DoT) received a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore of bids in the country’s biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum, with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with a Rs 88,078 crore bid.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum offered across 10 bands, 51,236 MHz, or 71 per cent, was sold. The auctions and spectrum top-up by companies will pave the way for better quality of services for consumers across the country, he added. The 5G services are expected to launch in the country before the end of the year.