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Ericsson bags 4G contract from Bharti Airtel

Fourth generation or 4G service are still at a nascent stage in India

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Telecom gear maker Ericsson, on Thursday, said it has signed a deal with the country's largest cellular operator Bharti Airtel for fourth generation (4G) roll out.

Besides, the Swedish vendor has bagged more orders from cellular operators including Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular. Ericsson declined to give details of its 4G deal with Bharti Airtel. Fourth generation (4G) service is still at a nascent stage in India.

While Bharti Airtel has rolled out commercial operations in select cities on the 2,300 MHz spectrum band, Reliance Jio Infocomm, which is the only operator to have pan-India 4G spectrum, is yet to enter the market commercially.

Other operators like Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have announced their plans to offer 4G on 1800MHz band, a globally tested band for 4G, and have acquired additional spectrum through auction in February. However, no operator has indicated any specific time for 4G launch.

Ericsson, which today launched its small cell radio dot system and multi band indoor picocell to boost indoor coverage, said that the Indian cellular operators need to make fresh investments for better indoor coverage, essentially for the upcoming 4G services.

"All our customers have long term evolution (LTE) plans. Traffic is expected to jump hundreds times. It would be hard to cater the needs just from the outside or macro network and they would need an underlying layer of small cells," Christian Hedelin, head of strategy (Business Unit Radio), Ericsson said.

The country's youngest operator - Reliance Jio Infocomm has lined up investment of about Rs 70,000 crore for its foray into the 4G space.

Ericsson has also released a whitepaper on bringing the Networked Society to life in India by 2020.

"Broadband has the potential to bring inclusive growth in India by extending education, healthcare and financial inclusion to rural areas and lower income groups," said Ericsson India head Chris Houghton.

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First Published: Thu, October 09 2014. 16:04 IST