Sweden based telecommunication company, Ericsson announced on Tuesday that it had signed a 4G network deal with India’s largest telecom operator- Bharti Airtel.
Head of Ericsson India, Chris Houghton said, “Airtel has selected Ericsson to be its partner in offering LTE (Long-Term Evolution, also marketed as 4G LTE) in India.”
Airtel also made a separate one year deal with Ericsson for providing prepaid self-care solutions. It will include Airtel’s Night Store for offering value for money offers such as local calling at night, night internet packs to the prepaid subscribers. The night timings will be from 12 am to 6 am.
Bharti Airtel and Aircel are the only two 4G network provider in India as of now, while Reliance Jio is the only pan-India 4G telco in the country. Reliance Jio also plans to start testing its 4G network before the year-end and launch it for public use in early 2015.
Ericsson Also Signed Deals With Idea Cellular
Besides inking a deal with Bharti Airtel, Ericsson has signed a few deals with Idea Birla Group’s Idea Celluar. As per the deal, Ericsson will manage data charging for Idea through its Evolved IP Network (EIN) for delivering subscriber based broadband services like, 2G, 3G, 4G, triple-play, and Wi-Fi over a unified IP transport.
Nokia Networks also signed multiple deals related to network equipment and upgradation with many key telecom players this year.
Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and Reliance Jio also won the spectrum licence of 1800 MHz band during the recent spectrum auctions held in Feb,2014. Experts speculate that these telcos might use this band for launching FDD-LTE 4G network. Currently, Airtel and Aircel are offering 4G services via the less popular TD-LTE standard.
The exact details of the 4G network deal between Airtel and Ericsson are not known at the moment. However, from what we know about Airtel’s night store, the night offers are only for the insomniacs as the night timings are very weird for regular user.
Well, its good to see some movement among the 4G spectrum licence holders in India. Airtel, Aircel, and Reliance Jio had recently approached DoT for extending their 4G rollout timeline. The main reasons cited for the delay in 4G rollout were lack of technology ecosystem and slow government processes. We just hope that these operators launch their 4G services at the earliest.