Bharti Airtel might have lesser 4G spectrum than Jio, but the incumbent telecom player, which is also the market leader in the Indian telecom industry, is about to make its 3G and 4G services faster in the Delhi telecom circle.
Ericsson, the Swedish telecom equipment maker has been selected by Airtel for modernising its 2G cell sites, as well as for introducing a second carrier for its 3G network. The contract is worth Rs. 816 crore and will result in a significant data speed improvement.
The telecom company is also adding new 4G cell sites based on 2300 MHz band in the circle for enhancing its network coverage and capacity, reports Economic Times.
This network enhancement contract follows Airtel’s recent acquisition of 10 MHz spectrum in the 2300 MHz band, and 5 MHz in 2100 MHz band for Rs. 1,430 crore and Rs. 2,770 crore respectively.
The contract will be initiated in this quarter and will bring these recently acquired airwaves into use thus enhancing the network coverage and capacity in the Delhi telecom circle.
“Together with Ericsson, the company will build a future-ready network, given the explosive growth of mobile data service,” said Abhay Savargaonkar, CTO, Bharti Airtel.
“We won a very important project for Delhi’s flagship network…with this, we are entering a new important programme of modernisation of networks across old technologies and frequencies,” Paolo Colella, Head India region, Ericsson.
The company is also planning to bring carrier aggregation across the three bands in Delhi which will allow Airtel to offer insanely high data speeds. Ericsson will help Airtel launch carrier aggregation by combining FDD (using 1800 MHz band) and TDD LTE technologies for offering faster data speeds.
Last month, Airtel said that it is upgrading its 3G network to “dramatically improve performance and deliver 4G-like speeds even on 3G”.
However, the company has also mentioned that the subscribers in Delhi might face some “teething issues” over the next few days.
As of now Airtel has more than 6,000 cell sites in Delhi which will increase as a result of this contract.
“Densification of sites is something that every operator is looking at depending upon how the traffic develops. The natural densification is part of this contract,” Colella said.”
The contract includes equipment, software, and professional services including project management, network optimisation, and seamless integration of 3G and 4G across Delhi telecom circle.
It is worth noting that according to MySpeed portal of TRAI, Airtel is the fastest 3G operator in Delhi circle with an average speed of 3.21 Mbps followed by CellOne and Idea at 3.09 Mbps and 2.97 Mbps respectively.
However, when it comes to 4G, Reliance Jio has the upper hand with an average data speed of 14.64 Mbps while Airtel and Vodafone trail at 9.83 Mbps and 5.45 Mbps respectively.
With this network augmentation Airtel has the chance to compete head-on with Reliance Jio and lure users for its superior network coverage and speed. But what exactly will happen, only time will tell. Let’s wait and watch.