Displaying items by tag: Bharti Airtel

India’s largest telecom services provider, Bharti Airtel, announced a strategic partnership with South Korean telecom provider SK Telecom, under which the Indian comapny will leverage SK Telekom’s expertise to build the “most advanced telecom network in India”.

“SK Telecom is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel, a global leading mobile operator,” said Park Jung-ho, the President and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Bharti to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers.”

The partnership will work across several areas, according to the two companies, including developing bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data, and building customized tools to improve network planning based on every customer’s device experience.

The capacity to identify, monitor and deliver improvements to the network experience on an individual device basis will be a first in India, helped by SK Telecom’s global leadership in this area.

The two companies will also collaborate on an on-going basis to evolve standards for 5G, network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context.

“We are extremely delighted to announce this partnership with the world’s leading operator when it comes to technology understanding and expertise. This partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world,” Said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel.

“Strong partnerships have been a hallmark of Airtel’s growth journey and we are proud to have always looked ahead to bring the latest technology to India,” he added. “With SK Telecom’s clear and undisputed leadership in technology, this is one partnership that will decisively change the game in India and put the country at par with the most advanced broadband nations in the world.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecommunications services provider, said that it doubled its mobile network deployment over the past two years in line with its objective of building a future ready network to lead India’s data growth story.

In the last two years (FY 16 and FY 17), Airtel has deployed 180,000 mobile sites across India. This is same as the number of mobile sites deployed by the company in the first 20 years of operations, making it one the largest mobile network rollouts globally. 

In November 2015, Airtel launched Project Leap, its nationwide network transformation program to build a future ready network. The company has committed an investment of Rs 60,000 crores over three years under this program.  

Airtel has also doubled its overall transmission capacity and increased the mobile backhaul capacity by eight times to roll out high speed broadband network with 4G and 3G coverage in all 22 telecom circles. This deployment has been supported by addition of 14,500+ KM of fibre to Airtel’s national fibre backbone along with 3666 new fibre POP nodes (highest ever deployed in Airtel network in single year). 

“Airtel has been at the forefront of India’s telecom growth story and this record deployment underlines our commitment to building a world-class network of the future that will serve a digital India,” said Abhay Savargaonkar, Director of Networks, Bharti Airtel.

“This deployment will leverage our spectrum capacity and is yet another benchmark by Airtel in execution excellence. We are now in a position to ramp up future capacity on this network very quickly, giving us unmatched reach and agility. I want to thank our network partners for their support in this deployment.”          

Airtel has been rated as the fastest mobile network in India by Ookla –the globally recognized leader in mobile speed tests and also a benchmark for reputed global operators. As per travel app RailYatri, Airtel has offered the widest mobile network coverage on the go. 

Published in Infrastructure

Indian telco Bharti Airtel has sold 10 percent of its tower unit Infratel $952 million to a consortium of investors in a bid to reduce its debt pile. The investors are led by private equity firm KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

There were rumors circulating that the buyers wanted to acquire a “significant” stake in Infratel during October 2016 after Airtel’s board went forward with plans to sell off a proportion of the unit. New reports emerged in early March this year that the company had dropped plans to sell a controlling stake in the unit in favor of disposing around 22 percent.

Bharti Airtel now owns 61.7 percent of Infratel after selling to the investors. A stock exchange filing provided evidence that Bharti Airtel plans to use the funds from the sale to pay off debt.

“This investment by a consortium of marquee, long-term investors underlines the confidence of the global investors in India’s growth story and the government’s Digital India initiative in particular,” said Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal. “It further reinforces the positive outlook for the telecom infrastructure sector.”

It seems Bahrti Airtel has followed the footsteps of its rival Reliance Communications which cleared a deal with the Competition Commission of India to sell a 51 percent stake in its tower business to Canadian investment company Brookfield Group.

Published in Finance

Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecoms services provider, and Viavi Solutions announced at MWC 2017 that they have jointly conducted measurement and analysis of 4G and 3G smartphone performance-representing over 8,000 smartphone models-crowd-sourced using a big data approach from the live Airtel network, with help of location intelligence platform.

The analysis was intended to evaluate variation in key performance indicators (KPIs) impacting user experience in various smartphone models, to develop a process for smartphone qualification using real-world quality of experience samples, and to provide manufacturers with data to improve future products.

This initiative would shed light on smartphone quality and its impact on user experience, especially in an open market for devices. The study is available in a white paper co-authored by the two companies, and available at www.viavisolutions.com/sites/default/files/technical-library-items/bhartiairtel-wp-maa-nse-ae.pdf.

A set of KPIs were selected to represent user experience based on smartphone performance. Viavi's location intelligence platform recorded measurements of these KPIs from smartphones representing 2.2 million unique subscribers in Delhi, capital city of India.

For each KPI, a benchmark was set to indicate the minimum performance expected. For a 4G smartphone to qualify, it should meet set threshold in 8 out of 12 parameters or KPIs (at least four each for 4G & 3G). 3G only smartphone would qualify upon meeting set threshold in 4 out of 6 KPIs.

Of the 8,000 unique smartphone models that were part of the study, 300 models accounted for 80 percent of the total smartphone population. Amongst the top 128 smartphone models, around 23 percent of 4G smartphones and 13 percent of 3G only smartphones did not meet the qualification benchmarks.

The analysis confirmed that there is variation in smartphone types, and corresponding variation in user experience under the same network conditions.

"Airtel is committed to delivering an exceptional experience to our customers," said Abhay Savargaonkar, Director - Network Services (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel. "Given the massive scale of customers served by our network, this study provides a 360-degree view on customer experience and generates insights for collaborating with device OEMs to serve the customer even better."

Published in Telecom Operators

Competition in India’s telco sector has intensified since Reliance Jio was launched into the market in September 2016, adding 52 million subscribers in its first three months of operation. A report by a UK newspaper indicated that Vodafone India and Idea Cellular were seeking a merging with Reliance Jio. But the story has been denied by sources in a report by the Hindustan Times.

The newspaper’s sources said India’s current spectrum holding limits and revenue market share caps both indicate that a merger is not likely. A source from Idea Cellular was also noted in the newspaper article as denying that the company was in talks with Reliance Jio.

Competition in India’s telco sector has grown fierce since Reliance Jio entered the scene after it took a large share of the market from its competitors. The new provider of telecom services offered a range of attractive free services to customers to reel them in, which then lead to Reliance Jio’s competitors – including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – to reduce the price of their offerings to match.

Vodafone Group responded to the threat by investing in its India unit last year, which included a payment to reduce its debt and also increase its 4G spectrum holding at an October auction. The company announced in November that its revenues in India had increased in its fiscal H1 (which covers the period to end-March). Vodafone also confirmed its plans to proceed with an IPO of its Indian unit “as soon as market conditions allow.”

Published in Telecom Operators

India’s Reliance Communications, the Internet access and telecommunications company headquartered in Mumbai, India, is selling its mobile phone tower business to Brookfield, a Canadian asset management giant, for $1.6 billion, it was reported on December 21, 2016. The deal represents the largest investment by a foreign company in Indian infrastructure, according to Reliance.  Brookfield reportedly seeks to capitalize on liquidity constraints at major Indian firms.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Indian companies are struggling to acquire capital as the central bank puts pressure on lenders to address bad loans. Firms are said to be choosing asset sales to boost coffers and reduce debt, says the report.

Reliance Communications, led by Indian billionaire tycoon Anil Ambani, said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange that it was announcing the “signing of binding agreements” with Brookfield Infrastructure to sell its mobile phone towers for 110 billion rupees. In the statement the company said, “The transaction will represent the largest ever investment by any overseas financial investor in the infrastructure sector in India.”

The reason why Reliance is selling its tower business, which ties into its recent merger with Aircel, is to help reduce its overall debt by about 70 percent, according to the company. After the announcement, Reliance’s shares on the BSE’s Sensex soared by almost nine percent.

Reliance’s tower company will now become a separate company owned by Brookfield, but the Indian company says it would benefit from non-voting shares. In a statement Reliance said, "The company expects significant future value creation from these class B shares owing to the 4G rollout and the expected growth of the telecom industry.”

This refers to India’s current 4G revolution taking place, as the country’s telecoms market becomes increasingly competitive. Major players in the market include Vodafone, Idea, and Reliance Jio, which is owned by Anil Ambani’s older brother Mukesh, and also Bharti Airtel vie for dominance. According to a report by Bloomberg, Brookfield was originally in talks to take over Bharti Airtel’s wireless tower business, Bharti Infratel.

The Reserve Bank of India is currently forcing banks to clean up their balance sheets. Brookfield signed a deal with the State Bank of India earlier this year and last month its South Asia head told Bloomberg that the asset management firm had struck a $1 billion agreement with Indian commercial property firm Hiranandani Developers Pvt.

Published in Finance

India, a country with notoriously patchy mobile networks known for bad reception and irregular pricing, has been anticipating Reliance Industries’ long-awaited 4G mobile services, which is set to launch this month. The company is owned by India’s wealthiest citizen, Mukesh Ambani, who announced the launch on Thursday, September 1. The launch has not been received well by all, such as Reliance’s rival Bharti Airtel, which saw its shares plummet almost seven percent.

Mr. Ambani announced news of the 4G launch at the Mumbai-based company’s annual general meeting. He said the multi-billion-dollar telecommunications network, called Reliance Jio Infocomm, would be rolling out the network from September 5 following repeated delays, reports AFP.

The company’s chairman said it would cover 90 percent of India’s 1.25 billion population by March 2017. Bharti Airtel has already launched 4G, and now it will be competing against Reliance, which caused its stocks to slump 6.83 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange in late morning after trading hours.

"We can transform India from a high price data market to one with the lowest data rates anywhere in the world," said Mr. Ambani, promising cheaper tariffs and free calls within India and no roaming charges.

His company has reportedly spent billions of dollars purchasing wireless spectrum at auction from the government in recent years, as it seeks to dominate India’s competitive mobile market, estimated at around 952 million users – more than twice the population of the United States.

Reliance delayed its 4G launch, after it was initially supposed to launch the service at the end of 2015. The company never explained the reason behind the delay, and it left Bharti Airtel free to snatch up millions of its customers. Now that Reliance is back in the game, Bharti Airtel reduced prices for mobile data services earlier this week ahead of Reilance’s launch, in a bid to prevent its users from switching to Jio in the coming months, AFP reports.

The reason why its shares are dropping nonetheless is because experts believe the estimated $15 billion Jio launch will be a game-changer for Reliance, which is attempting to diversify after deriving majority of its earnings from its massive energy operations.

Jio’s tariff plans would start from around 150 rupees a month ($2.24), according to Mr. Ambani, and would cost up to 5000 rupees for high-speed data services. Reliance investors appeared unimpressed by the announcement with shares slipping 0.90 percent, reports AFP.

Published in Telecom Operators