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Airtel ties up with Ericsson to explore 5G rollout

18 November 2017

The country's largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, has signed an agreement with Ericsson under which the Swedish telecom equipment maker will help the company prepare for the rollout of 5G services.

''We have MoUs with 36 operators globally (for 5G trials). In India, we have recently tied up with Bharti Airtel for 5G technology,'' Ericsson senior vice-president and head of market area South East Asia, Oceania and India, Nunzio Mirtillo said.

Without divulging details of the agreement, Mirtillo said under the pact Ericsson will work with Bharti on developing the road map for network operations and supporting services related to 5G.

Financial details were also not divulged. Ericsson said the engagement with Airtel was more for testing and trial of the technology and gaining knowledge about it was the priority.

Bharti Airtel has already partnered with Finnish gear maker Nokia for working the on 5G technology.

Bharti works on an outsourcing business model where it signs long-term strategic partnerships in areas such as network equipment, IT and call centres. The operator partners with global vendors and companies for co-creating tailor made solutions. Its strategic partners include Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, Cisco, IBM and Avaya.

On opportunities presented by 5G, Ericsson India's managing director Nitin Bansal said the technology will open up new revenue streams for operators as they go beyond from connectivity and infrastructure providers to become service enablers and service creators.

According to the telecom gear maker's 5G business potential report, 5G will be a $27-billion revenue opportunity for Indian telecom operators by 2026, with the bulk coming in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities, followed by public safety and health sectors. This will be over and above the revenue generated from traditional services, which is expected to grow up to $63 billion by 2026.

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