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Airtel Ropes In Finland's Nokia to Ramp Up 4G Expansion in India Now That 5G is on Hold

© REUTERS / Antti Aimo-KoivistoThe Nokia headquarters is seen in Espoo, Finland April 6, 2016.
The Nokia headquarters is seen in Espoo, Finland April 6, 2016. - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): India was scheduled to conduct the 5G trials this year, bit these are now delayed due to the spread of the coronavirus. 4G remains the only way for over 600 million web users in India to access high speed internet connectivity.

In a bid to ramp up 4G networks, Indian telco Bharti Airtel has roped in Finland-based equipment-maker Nokia in a multi-million contract, Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Bharti Airtel, confirmed to Indian media on Tuesday. The exact financial details of the new contract were undisclosed.

Under the agreement, Nokia will empower 4G services on Airtel, especially in India’s rural areas, with services including the integration, planning and optimization of networks.

This is not the first time Airtel has partnered with the Finnish company to sharpen 4G services for its over 144 million users.

Earlier in 2019, the Indian telecom company led by Sunil Bharti Mittal extended its contract to Nokia to ensure high speed web connectivity in Indian states including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala among others in a deal worth $500 million.

The revelation of Airtel’s plans to further boost 4G networks in India, especially in the rural areas, comes at a time the load on the internet bandwidth in India has surged with locked up Indians working and studying online.

Recently, the UK’s Vodafone, which merged with Indian telco Idea to operate in India, urged the federal government to clear pending demands for spectrum in March.

In 2019, reports suggested that India would conduct a fresh auction of the 4G spectrum between the 700 (megahertz) MHz and 2,500MHz bands in April 2020. That plan is currently on hold.

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