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