Bharti, Nokia initiative for managing networks

MUMBAI, MAY 27. Bharti Tele-Ventures and Nokia have announced a major initiative to build and manage mega networks. The scope extends to AirTel's existing circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra (including Goa) and Gujarat and the two new circles of Bihar (including Jharkhand) and Orissa.

The three year service agreement with Nokia valued at about $275 million, is towards the management, maintenance, quality assurance and capacity expansion of the AirTel networks in these circles. The initiative will result in providing congestion free networks with seamless coverage and enhanced quality in over 550 towns and cities across the five circles.

Manoj Kohli, President (Mobility), Bharti Tele-Ventures, said, "AirTel now manages 16 circles out of the total 23 with Rajasthan being the latest. We will roll out the seven new circles in the next few months and will have an All-India footprint. We will cover Uttar Pradesh east, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, North Eastern States, Bihar and Orissa, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.''

The initiative will see Nokia deploying up to five times the current network capacity in the next two years in the five circles.

Also planned is the deployment of the EDGE technology (enhanced data rate for global evolution), voice quality enhancers and dual band networks across AirTel circles on a need basis.

EDGE will be introduced in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad first and in the second phase in other major cities in the western region.

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