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Ericsson India in discussions with Vodafone Idea for potential 5G agreement

Nitin Bansal of Ericsson India said the initiative follows a follow-on offer and is expected to initiate a network expansion project within the next two to three months

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Rimjhim Singh New Delhi

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Swedish telecommunications equipment manufacturer Ericsson is currently in discussions to obtain new orders for 4G and 5G equipment from Vodafone Idea. This initiative follows a follow-on offer and is expected to initiate a network expansion project within the next two to three months, according to a report in Moneycontrol.

The report quoted Nitin Bansal, managing director (MD) of Ericsson India, as saying, “Vodafone Idea is our partner and we are in discussions with them. We are hopeful that when they launch 5G, we will be supporting them in their rollouts.”

Ericsson currently serves as a 5G equipment provider for both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. These two telecom giants also work with Nokia to procure their 5G equipment.

Vodafone Idea is expecting to start rolling out its 5G deployment in six months and is engaged in discussions with vendors for 5G agreements. However, the primary focus of the company at present is to enhance its 4G capacity and coverage within a couple of months to mitigate subscriber losses.

Known as Vi, the company aims to substantially expand its coverage within 12-15 months to better compete with rivals Jio and Airtel.

Finland-based Nokia supplies the infrastructure for Vodafone Idea’s 4G service in nine circles, while Ericsson provides the same in eight circles. Huawei’s equipment is operational in seven circles, and ZTE’s gear is used in five circles by Vodafone, with all ZTE circles being shared with other vendors.

Market looks promising, says Ericsson India MD

Bansal said the company anticipates a deceleration in rollout speed this year, attributed to the swift network deployment efforts led by Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. “We are still very confident about the Indian market. It’s very important for us. Looking at the uptake in the number of subscribers and the data growth, it still looks positive. I don’t expect the same level of rollout being repeated that we saw last year, but it’s going to be positive in India,” the report quoted Bansal as saying.

Bansal further said, “The requirements for 5G are more than what we have seen in the past. Now, it’s about video experience, gaming experience, fixed wireless access. So, you need functionalities in the network to deliver the best performance.”

June spectrum auction

Talking about the upcoming June spectrum auction, Bansal said that it is a positive sign for the industry and Ericsson that all three private telecom operators would be participating in the upcoming spectrum auction. “Once the auction finishes, we will get more into discussions with the operators. I look forward to the auctions,” he said.

The Swedish equipment manufacturer is also working with Indian telecom operators to create fresh use cases within the country. These initiatives aim to enable operators to capitalise on their investments in 5G technology.

The report quoted Bansal as saying, “Currently, for 5G, the focus has been on mobile broadband and FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) and they are performing well. We will continue to give ideas. There is a focus from the government also on use cases and they have developed 5G testbeds for 5G use cases.”

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First Published: May 23 2024 | 12:12 PM IST

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