Vodafone Idea has selected Ericsson to deploy 5G-ready LTE network equipment across select markets in India.
Ericsson is supplying radio access and transport equipment from its 5G-ready Ericsson Radio System portfolio, including the MINI-LINK 6000 microwave backhaul solution to provide network with advanced LTE capabilities.
It will also improve Vodafone Idea’s spectral and energy efficiency while increasing overall network capacity. Vodafone Idea’s smartphone customers on its LTE network will benefit higher speeds while using apps, uploading and downloading files.
This is not a 5G equipment deal with Vodafone Idea. At present, Vodafone Idea is focusing on expanding its 4G network. Ericsson will be supplying equipment to 8 telecom circles of Vodafone Idea. Nokia, Huawei and ZTE are the other main suppliers of LTE equipment in the country.
Vodafone Idea earlier said Capex for the third quarter of fiscal 2018-19 was Rs 11.7 billion. The level of capital expenditure is expected to be higher in Q4 as telecom network contracts with suppliers were finalised during Q3. Vodafone Idea will be investing Rs 20,000 crore in few years.
Vodafone Idea has over 198,000 2G sites and over 376,000 3G and 4G broadband sites. The company added 11,241 broadband sites, including 9,066 sites on TDD spectrum to enhance capacity in Q3.
Vodafone Idea’s broadband coverage is available in 270,000 towns and villages, covering ~69 percent of the Indian population.
Vodafone Idea has 146.3 million mobile data customers including 75.3 million 4G customers on its network.
A report from Tutela indicated that Vodafone India relies much more heavily on 3G for its coverage, particularly in rural areas. 3G accounts for 35 percent of all tests on Vodafone’s network. Vodafone has significant gaps in coverage where neither 3G nor 4G is available in India, Tutela said.
India contributes 4 percent of the total sales to Ericsson in 2018 as compared with 5 percent in 2017. Ericsson has achieved SEK 8.2 billion (+5 percent) revenue from South East Asia, Oceania and India in 2018.
Nunzio Mirtillo, head of Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania and India, said the 5G-ready solutions in the Ericsson Radio System portfolio will boost the capacity of Vodafone Idea’s LTE network.