Ericsson had just shared that it got 5G contracts from Bharti Airtel for deployment in 12 different circles. Now, Airtel has announced that apart from Ericsson, the telco will also be working with Nokia and Samsung for its 5G deployment, bound to start in August 2022. Airtel will be working with Samsung for the first time in India, while it has already been working with Nokia and Ericsson for a long-time. To recall, Airtel had acquired spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz in the recently concluded 5G spectrum auctions.
Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Airtel said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August. Our network agreements are finalized, and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to our 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.”
Airtel is not depending on any single vendor for 5G rollout. Jio had worked only with Samsung for the 4G rollout, and thus, it will be interesting to see what it does in the 5G segment.
Nokia will deploy its AirScale portfolio of products while working with Airtel. The telco specified that with Ericsson, its partnership would be there for 12 circles. This means the remaining circles will be left for Samsung and Nokia. It is safe to say that Ericsson is the biggest partner circle market share-wise for Airtel.
This is a fresh boost for Samsung in the Indian telecommunications market. There were rumours of Airtel talking with Samsung for the 5G partnership, and it has turned out to be correct. 5G launch is expected to happen around October 2022.