Airtel selects Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung for 5G network

Bharti Airtel, India’s #2 telecom operator, has selected Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung for the deployment of 5G network in the country.
5G base station USAirtel has secured 5G spectrum worth $5.4 billion during the 5G spectrum auction in India. Airtel has emerged as the second largest bidder during the 2022 spectrum auction.

Nokia will have approximately 45 percent market share of 5G network contract. Ericsson said it will support Airtel 5G in 12 telecom circles.

Ericsson will provide 5G connectivity in 12 circles (geographical regions in India) for Bharti Airtel.

Samsung did not provide its market share from the 5G network deal with Airtel.

Airtel in a news statement said it will launch 5G in August. Reliance Jio is also aiming to offer 5G in August.

Gopal Vittal, MD and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel, said: “With our 5G network, we aim to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity, fuel India’s journey towards a digital economy and strengthen the country’s position on the world stage.”


Airtel will deploy power-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System and Ericsson microwave mobile transport solutions. Ericsson will provide 5G connectivity in 12 circles (geographical regions in India) for Bharti Airtel.

Borje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, said: “With Ericsson’s unrivaled global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel to deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G.”

Ericsson said it has 125 live networks in 55 countries to date. Ericsson said radio network handles around 50 percent of the world’s 5G traffic outside China.

Ericsson is recognized as a 5G industry leader, having recently topped the Frost Radar: Global 5G Network Infrastructure Market ranking for second year in a row. Ericsson was also named a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report by Gartner.


Nokia will provide equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including modular and scalable baseband as well as high-capacity 5G massive MIMO radios.

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO at Nokia said: “This landmark deal reinforces our long-standing partnership with Bharti Airtel. We are delighted that they have chosen Nokia’s best-in-class AirScale baseband and radio portfolio to deliver superior 5G performance in one of the world’s largest networks.”


Airtel said it will also bring in South Korean major Samsung as a network partner to deploy #Airtel5G. This is the first time that both companies will work together.

Samsung Electronics will provide 5G solutions and equipment to Airtel, marking the South Korean tech giant’s first 5G equipment deal from India as the country plans to roll out 5G services after a successful spectrum auction.

“As a leader in 5G, Samsung will embark on this 5G journey with Airtel to deliver innovative solutions that will help advance India’s entrepreneurial spirit and open up a new paradigm for the country,” Paul (Kyungwhoon) Cheun, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics said.

Samsung said the deal includes building 5G radio stations and offering maintenance and other services. The value of the deal was not disclosed.


Meanwhile, rating agency Fitch said it expects Airtel’s and Jio’s free cash flow generation will improve as operating cash flow growth will more than offset incremental spectrum-related payments and the increase in 5G-related Capex.

5G Capex in 2023-2024 will replace current 4G Capex, as 4G coverage is largely complete. Airtel will strengthen their fiber infrastructure by connecting towers with fiber and backhaul infrastructure to prepare for the launch of 5G services.