Bharti Airtel-Ericsson deal: Ericsson to expand Airtel’s 3G and 4G networks

Bharti Airtel has collaborated with Ericsson to roll out 4G in Delhi. The duo has also partnered to expand 3G WCDMA network across eight telecom circles in India.


Under the 4G deployment agreement, Ericsson will be responsible to provide superior network performance, with faster web browsing, video-on-demand, downloads and other services.

The four year agreement between Ericsson and Bharti Airtel also enables the latter to avail the multi-standard radio equipment from Ericsson RBS 6000 base station family for macro and small cell networks. Ericsson will also deploy its LTE RAN software for Airtel. The solution can be easily integrated with the existing 2G and 3G networks deployed by Ericsson.

“The Delhi market is currently experiencing a rapid increase in the uptake of data-centric services. As market leaders, we at Airtel are deeply committed towards delivering the best data experience for smartphone users and have made investment in high speed 4G network to improve the data experience of the customer. We are delighted to partner with Ericsson to offer a world-class 4G experience for our customers in Delhi,” responded Abhay Savargaonkar, CTO, Bharti Airtel.

Paolo Colella, Head of Region India, Ericsson expressed its pride in partnering with Bharti Airtel. “Our global leadership and expertise made it possible to roll out the LTE network in record time. LTE will be a key enabler in realizing Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society and our high capacity LTE network infrastructure will enable Airtel subscribers to enjoy a seamless, high-speed mobile broadband experience,” Colella said.

Besides Delhi, Ericsson has also partnered Bharti Airtel to deploy LTE networks in 4 other circles.

In its agreement to roll out 3G WCDMA network across eight telecom circles in India, Ericsson will supply, install and perform managed services for WCDMA Radio Access Networks (RAN). The agreement will roll out 3G services in both UMTS 2100 MHZ and UMTS 900MHz band (in three circles).

Similarly, Ericsson will provide its multi-standard radio equipment from the Ericsson RBS 6000 base station family for macro and small cells, which will enable better operations by making it energy-efficient and cost-effective.

“Refarming of 900MHz spectrum in three circles to 3G is aimed at providing additional capacity and better indoor coverage. By partnering with Ericsson, we look forward to leveraging Ericsson’s experience to address the growing demands of our 3G subscribers, providing them with high-quality data experience at all times,” said Airtel CTO Savargaonkar.

Ericsson is the pioneer in LTE network technology. Around 40 percent of the world’s LTE traffic is served by Ericsson, including in countries such as US, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and Canada.

Also read: Airtel 4G services go LIVE in 296 towns across India

According to the India appendix of Ericsson Mobility Report, LTE subscriptions in India are expected to reach more than 230 million by 2020, forming around 17 percent of the total subscription base. The WCDMA/HSPA subscriptions are expected to increase from over 120 million in 2014 to around 620 million by 2020. This increases the ratio of WCDMA /HSPA subscriptions in the total subscription base to 45 percent from 13 percent. Also, the total number of mobile subscriptions in India is expected to increase to approximately 1.4 Billion by 2020.

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8 Comments on "Bharti Airtel-Ericsson deal: Ericsson to expand Airtel’s 3G and 4G networks"


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September 2, 2015 9:42 pm 9:42 PM

Lol. Airtel is already scared of upcoming RJio 4G.

Another point is, airtel recently increased 3G rates because they have to give money to Ericsson also for LTE RAN software.

Airtel Lover
September 3, 2015 8:56 am 8:56 AM

Airtel will provide only quality services to its discerning customers.

September 2, 2015 9:24 pm 9:24 PM

Which are these 3 circles where 900mhz band will be refarmed???

Prasath J
September 2, 2015 9:55 pm 9:55 PM

My blind guess is Punjab, AP and NE where Airtel got 10, 9 and 8.8 MHz of 900MHz liberalized spectrum recently…

September 3, 2015 10:44 am 10:44 AM

I doubt on north east, it should be karnataka(got 8.8 MHZ in 900MHZ band) in its place as data consumption in Bangalore is high!!!!

Viranch Damani
September 3, 2015 2:46 pm 2:46 PM

N.E is actually more congested. The lack of wired broadband makes them totally reliant on 3G/4G unlike Bangalore where lots of wird broadband operators are present.

Prasath J
September 3, 2015 1:06 pm 1:06 PM

Reframing existing spectrum is very difficult than using the extra TopUp spectrum they recently got in the auction.. KA is possible, but not simple.. It will lead to too many bad coverage and call drops (like it happened in Delhi earlier) during re-framing period..

But in NE circle, Airtel got 4.4 additional [earlier used by RCom] 900MHz spectrum. Similarly in Assam, Airtel got extra 4.4 MHz [prev owned by RCom] apart from its own holding of just 1.8MHz.. But In KA, Airtel got 1.6+MHz only as additional spectrum [prev owned by Idea / Spice].. Same in AP as well..

Viranch Damani
September 3, 2015 2:58 pm 2:58 PM

Also given the fact that Airtel’s mostly probably using all its 1800 Mhz spectrum for 4G deployment in Karnataka especially Bangalore since they don’t own any 2300 Mhz spectrum over here.
Any attempt to deploy 3G on 900 Mhz which would require at least 5 mhz would seriously deprive spectrum for 2G operations. Also given Airtel’s size in Karnataka which is probably one of the largest, attempts by them to reduce spectrum allocated for 2G by as much as 50%(5Mhz out ot 8.8-9 Mhz) would lead to serious detoriation in quality of services.