Bharti Airtel will commence Indian 5G deployment this month

Indian telco Bharti Airtel has recruited Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to enable its 5G rollout, which will commence round about now.

Bharti Airtel will start its 5G deployment almost immediately by the sounds of it, and has recruited Nokia and Ericsson as kit vendors, whilst also bringing in Samsung to the mix which it hasn’t worked with before.

The announcement comes swiftly after the Spectrum auctions which Department of Telecom in India conducted yesterday. Bharti Airtel bid for and acquired 19867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz frequency

“We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Airtel. “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.”

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson added: “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivalled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realize its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”

Following concerns over the level of telco participation, it was announced yesterday the Indian 5G auction raised US$19 billion, with operator Reliance Jio Infocomm accounting for well over half of that. Bharti Airtel pledged US$5.5 billion for frequencies in five bands, and all in all the Indian government successfully sold 71% of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum it put up for sale. You can read the granular details of who got what in our coverage here.


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