Under the multi-year contract, to be renewed in 2022, Ericsson will supply and deploy 5G-ready radio and transport solutions to the telco, the two companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The latest extension follows the recent announcement of a renewed pan-India managed services contract between the two sides in July.
The two companies did not disclose any financial details. But a similar contract with Finland’s Nokia, which Airtel renewed for nine circles recently, was valued around $1 billion. Nokia will deploy around 300,000 radio units for Bharti Airtel by 2022 to significantly expand its 4G network.
“At Airtel, we are obsessed with delivering the best network experience to our customers, especially in these unprecedented times when digital connectivity is more important than ever. We are delighted to deepen our partnership with Ericsson as part of our endeavour to build a network ready for 5G and beyond,” Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Bharti Airtel, said in the statement.
Ericsson is the second-largest vendor for Bharti Airtel after Nokia. China’s Huawei and ZTE also provide 4G gear to the telco in two and three circles, respectively. But the telco has been gradually replacing Chinese vendors with European ones. Last year, Ericsson replaced Huawei in the Rajasthan circle and got the Rest of Tamil Nadu circle a few months ago, ET recently reported.
Ericsson said the continued deployment of its radio products and solutions will enhance Bharti Airtel’s network capacity and deliver a superior experience to its customers. The telco is also deploying products to increase its network’s backhaul capacities.
“The products manufactured in India will continue to benefit Indian users by enhancing Airtel’s network capacity and enabling it to cater to the country’s fast-growing data traffic needs,” said Nunzio Mirtillo, head of Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania and India.
Bharti Airtel recently said that both Nokia and Ericsson had given a commitment to it to make 5G network equipment in India, allowing local telecom operators to source network elements locally and contribute towards building the economy.
Ericsson manufactures 4G and 5G radios as well as microwave products at its Pune production facility, which is part of its global production footprint spanning six continents.