The European vendor will install several technologies including Single RAN, massive MIMO and small cells

Indian carrier Vodafone Idea has inked a partnership Nokia for the deployment of a LTE network across multiple service areas.

As part of the agreement, Nokia will deploy Single RAN Advanced, massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and small cells.

Nokia’s Single RAN solution will enable Vodafone Idea to simplify its network installation and management, while massive MIMO technology will enhance capacity and speed, according to Nokia. The installation of Nokia’s small cells will supplement operator’s macro network and ensure better coverage and capacity, both indoors and outdoors, the European vendor said.

“Vodafone Idea is undertaking the world’s biggest telecom network integration in India and creating India’s most advanced, secure and cost-efficient network,” said Vishant Vora, CTO, Vodafone Idea. “Extensive use of UBRs, DSRs, m-MIMOs and HetNets are key to our plan in this integration exercise, and we are very happy to partner with Nokia to deploy these futuristic, next generation technologies to prepare a future-proof network for the digital era.”

Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice President and Head of India, at Nokia, said that the vendor is “thrilled to partner with Vodafone Idea on this crucial initiative to expand their LTE network and ensure it is future ready for 5G. Their subscribers will experience a much-improved mobile broadband network and will be able to enjoy high-bandwidth consuming applications and services. Our field-proven equipment and world-class professional services will together ensure that Vodafone Idea’s subscribers experience the best-in-class network.”

According to recent Indian press reports, Vodafone Idea said the government should put off 5G spectrum auctions beyond 2020 as the carrier believes there aren’t specific 5G use cases available, and 4G is more than adequate for most customers and Internet of Things (IoT) services in the country in the near term. The government previously said that it expects to carry out a spectrum auction for the provision of 5G services during 2019.

“The most appropriate time to hold auctions will be somewhere after 2020. We need time to develop India-specific use cases and that takes time. We are working with our partners to develop them. The maturity of that (5G) technology will be there when it makes sense,” the Economic Times quoted Vora as saying.

“We are the largest IoT solutions provider today and we are doing it with 2G, 3G and 4G,” Vora said. “There’s no need to do 5G for IoT in 95% of these use cases.” He said 5G will be required for select use cases like virtual reality (VR), high definition gaming or remote surgery, as these use cases require lower latency and high throughput. “For these services, yes, you may need some spectrum, but they are still not the bulk of IoT services.”

In 2018, Vodafone India merged with Idea Cellular, and was renamed as Vodafone Idea. The company said it expects to fully complete the integration of the two networks in June 2020.


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