Nokia and Bharti Airtel are to expand the deployment of 4G technology across nine circles in India as the country prepares itself for the next boom in mobile data demand.
In the 2016 MBiT Index, Nokia reported an eightfold increase in India's 4G LTE device ecosystem for 2015, while other statistics show that access to news, video content, gaming and social media accounts for 60% of India's total mobile data traffic - and it is rising.
To address this growth, Bharti Airtel has acquired more mobile broadband spectrum. The new agreement with Nokia will see it expand the deployment of 4G technology in three new circles in addition to six circles it already serves, enabling launch of new services that started in September. Bharti Airtel will be able to provide improved coverage and faster mobile Internet access, while laying the foundation for the delivery of enhanced video services and other on-demand applications.
Nokia will deploy its 4G FDD-LTE & TD-LTE technology across nine of Bharti Airtel's circles in India including the regions of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rest of Bengal, Odisha, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala and UP East, serving major cities such as Lucknow, Ahmendabad, Patna and Siliguri
Nokia will also expand the operator's 3G network in eight of the territories as part of this rollout and modernisation of legacy 2G BTS. The rollout uses Nokia's radio access with Single RAN technology for FDD-LTE and TD-LTE, and the vendor will provide professional services including network integration and network planning and optimisation.
Bharti Airtel said in a statement: "We are pleased to continue to leverage Nokia's leading radio access technology and services expertise to expand 4G capacity and coverage and further increase the quality of service for subscribers."
Sanjay Malik, head of India Market at Nokia, said: "We have a long history of working with Bharti Airtel and with this latest agreement we have become the largest supplier of 4G for the company. This network expansion will provide the capacity, coverage and speeds the company needs to meet the next wave of data demand in India."