Nokia on Monday announced that its CloudBand-based software products have started powering Bharti Airtels Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in India. Finnish telecom gear maker firm Nokia in April bagged a deal worth more than Rs 7,500 crore from Bharti Airtel to deploy 5G ready network across the country.
According to Nokia, the network supports over 110 million customers, making it the largest cloud-based VoLTE network in India and the largest Nokia-run VoLTE in the world. "Nokia's carrier-grade cloud software solutions drive simplicity and flexibility and will further strengthen Airtel's solid 5G network foundation and transition to innovative digital solutions that are customer and experience-centric," said Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Software and Nokia Chief Digital Officer.
The cloud-based VoLTE deployment allows Airtel to provide its mobile customers faster and more reliable, cost-efficient call connectivity. Nokia, which is the largest 4G vendor in Airtel network, will help lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future by deploying 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands in all 22 telecom service areas expected to be completed by 2022.
Nokia's VoLTE solution enables Airtel to free up spectrum by ramping down its 3G network, allowing the operator to utilize the freed-up spectrum to deploy 4G/LTE services for better speed and capacity. "We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with Nokia to build a future-ready and agile network. The country's largest open cloud-based VoLTE network is a major milestone in Airtel's journey," added Randeep Sekhon, CTO of Bharti Airtel.
India currently is the second-largest telecom market in the world and is expected to reach 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025, which will also include 88 million 5G connections according to the GSMA. The country is experiencing a massive increase in demand for data services with traffic increasing by 47 percent in 2019 alone, according to Nokia's MBiT Index 2020.