Airtel to prepare roadmap for 5G and IoT business with Nokia

Airtel retail shop
Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel will create a strategic roadmap for preparing its network for 5G technology and managing connected devices on IoT platform.

Introduction of 5G will be a natural progression for Bharti Airtel. Airtel has strong presence in 2G, 3G and 4G segment. Airtel has 270 million subscribers in India. Airtel is the number one telecom operator in terms of revenue and subscriber base.

According to Telecom Secretary JS Deepak, who spoke at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, the India government is also working to ensure that India embraces 5G telecom networks fast. At present, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is yet to open any discussion on 5G.

Nokia to support Airtel

Nokia will be partnering with Bharti Airtel to drive the definition and development of 5G and IoT services with a focus on taking the path to 5G network connectivity.

Airtel will leverage Nokia’s 5G FIRST 5G solution, which was launched during MWC 2017, including AirScale radio access portfolio and AirFrame data center platform to demonstrate 5G capabilities and simulate use cases of 5G broadband.

Airtel will benefit from collaborative workshops to define a strategy for network evolution and transformation and the implications on business, technology, and operations. Nokia will also Airtel for 5G spectrum assessment to optimize spectrum resources to deliver the capacity needed to realize their 5G goals.

“5G and IoT applications have tremendous potential to transform lives and we are pleased to partner with Nokia to enable these future technologies for our customers,” said Abhay Savargaonkar, director – Network Services (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

“After our association with Bharti Airtel for 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, we are proud to partner to prepare for the future of mobile networks,” said Sanjay Malik, head of India Market, Nokia.

Airtel and 5G

The strategy towards 5G will be a big turning point for Bharti Airtel. Airtel has already created a strong enterprise business for business clients in India. The company’s entry into IoT space for connecting machines will improve its revenue streams. IoT connectivity on 5G platform will bolster its enterprise offerings.

The proposed entry into the rapidly growing IoT space will mitigate Bharti Airtel’s risk in voice revenue, which is becoming a commodity business for several telecom operators. The latest announcement from Airtel indicates that the telecom operator will have big plans around the enterprise business.

AT&T, a leading telecom operator in the U.S., said it would be earmarking more than 40 percent of its two-year capital expenditure (Capex) of more than $40 billion, towards business solutions worldwide.

Telecom operators such as Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, SoftBank, among others, have strong IoT business plans on 5G network. Some global operators are looking at starting 5G in 2018-2019.

The Airtel strategy on 5G and IoT indicates that Indian telecom operators will be able to create strong revenue streams from enterprise segment. At present, most of the top operators are trying to focus on voice and data offerings for retail customers. India has more than 900 million mobile subscribers.

Mobility spending

IDC says mobility revenues will grow at 2.6 percent to $1.57 trillion in 2017.

Purchases of mobile hardware, software, and services is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1 percent over the 2015-2020 forecast period to $1.67 trillion in 2020.

Combined, connectivity and hardware will deliver more than 95 percent of all mobility revenues this year with roughly two thirds coming from the consumer market. Most of the remaining revenues will come from enterprise purchases of mobility services, applications, application development platforms, and security.

Banking, discrete manufacturing, and professional services will be making the largest mobility investments of $166.3 billion in 2017.

Airtel and Google

Google is partnering with Bharti Airtel for working on the next generation mobile networks to bring a set of building blocks that Google has developed over the years.

“It’s great to see Google bring the benefits of their networking technologies to carriers. This will bring greater efficiencies and capabilities to mobile networks and enable us to rapidly innovate on new user experiences,” said Shyam Mardikar, CTO, Wireless, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel.

Baburajan K
[email protected]