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Airtel to invest Rs 5000 crores to scale up its data centre business

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Limited has unveiled a refreshed brand identity ‘Nxtra by Airtel’ for its data centre business and outlined investment plans to significantly scale up its data centre network to serve the requirements of India’s fast growing digital economy.

Nxtra by Airtel has the largest network of data centres in India. It currently operates 10 large and 120 edge data centres located strategically across India and manages critical submarine landing stations. Coupled with Airtel’s global network, it offers secure and scalable integrated solution to global hyperscalers, large Indian enterprises, start-ups, SMEs and governments.

With 5G around the corner, a fast growing digital economy, enterprises transitioning to cloud and local data storage regulations, India is witnessing strong demand for reliable data centre solutions. The Indian data centre industry is expected more than double its installed capacity from an approximate 450 MW to 1074 MW by 2023*.

Nxtra by Airtel aims to be at the forefront of this growth and plans to invest Rs 5,000 crores by 2025 to further scale up its industry leading network of hyperscale and edge data centres. This will include new data centre parks in key metro cities. The investment will triple Nxtra by Airtel’s installed capacity to over 400 MW to meet the surging demand and consolidate its network leadership.

Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO, Airtel Business said, “Airtel has built the largest data centre network in India and we are now doubling down on this business to scale up our network that will be at the core of 5G and Digital India. Our experience of operating secure data centres, deep brand trust in the enterprise segment and the ability to deliver end-to-end digital transformation solutions positions us well to serve the emerging requirements of India’s connected economy. The new brand identity embodies this vision and ambition.”

Sustainability will continue to be its big focus given the huge energy requirements of data centres. Nxtra by Airtel is already aggressively scaling up use of green energy for its data centres and aims to source 50% of the power requirements of these centres through renewable sources as part of Airtel’s overall GHG emission reduction targets. Nxtra by Airtel also recently commissioned captive solar power plants in the state of Uttar Pradesh & Maharashtra with still more in the pipeline.

Airtel Business, the B2B unit of Airtel, is the India’s leading provider of information communication technology services and offers a diverse portfolio of products and services covering voice, data, collaboration, work from home solutions, cloud, data centre, cyber security, IoT, network integration, managed services, enterprise mobility and digital media across a range of industries.

 

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Mobile Services

Mobile data traffic increased almost 300-fold over 10 years

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NEW DELHI: Ericsson global insights reveal an almost 300-fold increase in mobile data traffic since 2011 – the year in which Ericsson Mobility Report was first published. The findings, based on current and historical network data, are included in the special ten-year edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report November 2021.

The report looks back at some of the key trends and events that have shaped the last decade, as well as revealing the latest forecasts toward 2027.

The premise that 5G will become the fastest deployed mobile generation to date has been enhanced with an updated estimate of close to 660 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year. The increase is due to stronger than expected demand in China and North America, driven partly by decreasing prices of 5G devices. There was also a net addition of 98 million 5G subscriptions globally in Q3 2021, compared to 48 million new 4G subscriptions. At the end of 2021, it is estimated that 5G networks will cover more than two billion people.

According to the latest forecasts, 5G is on track to become the dominant mobile access technology, by subscriptions globally, by 2027. 5G is also expected to account for around 50 percent of all mobile subscriptions worldwide – covering 75 percent of the world’s population and carrying 62 percent of the global smartphone traffic by 2027.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “Mobile communication has had an incredible impact on society and business over the last ten years. When we look ahead to 2027, mobile networks will be more integral than ever to how we interact, live and work. Our latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that the pace of change is accelerating, with technology playing a crucial role.”

Since 2011, the deployment of 4G LTE networks has been pivotal in generating 5.5 billion new smartphone connections worldwide, contributing to the market availability of more than 20,000 different 4G device models. This report indicates a much earlier technology lifecycle of 5G devices, with 5G handsets today accounting for 23 percent of global volumes, compared to 8 percent of 4G handsets at the corresponding point in its lifecycle.

This is helping to fuel an exponential growth of mobile data traffic. Mobile network data traffic was up 42 percent, year-on-year, in Q3 2021 accounting for approximately 78 exabytes (EB), including traffic generated by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. In Q3 alone, mobile data traffic was more than all mobile traffic ever generated up until the end of 2016. New forecasts reveal that total mobile network data traffic is likely to reach 370EB by the end of 2027.

The report also reveals that the nature of mobile connections is changing rapidly, contributing to the ongoing rise in mobile data traffic.

Broadband IoT has now surpassed 2G/3G as the segment that connects the largest share of IoT applications. It is expected to account for 47 percent of all cellular IoT connections by the end of 2021, compared to 37 percent for 2G/3G and 16 percent for Massive IoT technologies (NB-IoT and Cat-M).

New forecasts reaffirm the rapid acceleration of massive IoT deployments in coming years, spanning use cases such as e-health wearables, logistical asset tracking, environmental monitoring and smart meters, and smart manufacturing tracking and monitoring devices. Massive IoT deployments are forecast to account for 51 percent of all cellular IoT connections by 2027.

In the same forecast period, FWA connections are forecast to grow almost threefold – from 88 million by the end of 2021, to around 230 million in 2027. Almost half of these connections are expected to be carried over 5G networks.

 

India Outlook

5G will represent around 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2027, estimated at about 500 million subscriptions. The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to be 810 million at the end of 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2027. Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 70 percent of total mobile subscriptions in 2021 and are projected to constitute around 94 percent in 2027, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.

 

4G is expected to remain the dominant technology in India in 2027, however the 4G subscriptions are forecast to drop from 790 million in 2021 to 710 million in 2027, showing an annual average decline of 2 percent. Thus, 4G subscriptions are expected to reduce from 68 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2021 to 55 percent in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G.

 

The reliance on mobile networks to stay connected and work from home has contributed to the average traffic per smartphone increasing to 18.4GB per month in 2021, up from 16.1GB per month in 2020. The average traffic per smartphone in the India region is the second-highest globally and is projected to grow to around 50GB per month in 2027. Total mobile data traffic in India has grown from 9.4EB per month in 2020 to 12EB per month in 2021 and is projected to increase by more than 4 times to reach 49EB per month in 2027.

States Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions for South east Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson ”5G will serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country and we are preparing the communication service providers for a seamless introduction of 5G in the country based on our global deployment experience , our innovative and competitive 5G portfolio as well as the 5G trials we are doing with Indian operators to showcase the possibilities with 5G.”

 

Ericsson recently carried out 5G trials with Airtel and Vi where it demonstrated enhanced mobile broadband and FWA use cases with 5G. Ericsson demonstrated blazing speeds of > 4Gbps with 5G during the trial with Vi in Pune . The Company also showcased the potential of 5G to revolutionize healthcare sector by enabling remote diagnostics. The highlight of the trial with Bharti Airtel was the demonstration of over 200 Mbps throughput on 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA device at distance of over 10 Km from the site. This translated into an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 kms, thus offering the ability to provide high-speed broadband coverage even in the remotest of geographies.

 

Ericsson continues to introduce innovative 5G solutions that fuel the global uptake of 5G. Ericsson’s Time-Critical Communication is a software toolbox for resolving lags and interruptions in mobile networks. Ericsson also recently announced the launch of its ultra-lightweight antenna-integrated radio AIR 3268 – its latest addition to its Massive MIMO portfolio –– for easier and efficient 5G mid-

band deployments in dense urban and suburban areas. At 12 kg, AIR 3268 is the lightest and smallest Massive MIMO radio in the industry. With 200W output power, the radio weighs about 40 percent less than the earlier generation, making installations easy not only on towers and rooftops, but also on poles and walls. Ericsson’s latest radio is 10 percent more energy-efficient than the earlier generation, lowering the total added power consumption when introducing 5G on mid-band.

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Mobile Services

Jio raises tariffs for unlimited plans in India

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NEW DELHI: In line with its commitment to further strengthen a sustainable telecom industry, where every Indian is empowered with a true digital life, Jio today announced its new unlimited plans. These plans will provide the best value in the industry. Upholding the Jio promise of providing the best-quality service at the lowest price globally, Jio customers will continue to be the biggest beneficiaries.

The new unlimited plans will go-live on 1st December 2021 and can be opted from all existing touchpoints and channels.

“The has also raised the price for an unlimited plan for JioPhone users that now starts at Rs 91 instead of Rs 75 earlier. The lowest prepaid unlimited plan for users now starts at Rs 155 instead of Rs 129. The Rs 155 plan offers 2GB of data for 28 days, unlimited calls, and 300 SMS,” as per the company statement.

“The Rs 149 and Rs 199 plans will now cost Jio prepaid users Rs 179 and Rs 239, respectively. To refresh, the Rs 179 plan offers 1GB per day date, unlimited calls, and 100 SMS per day benefits. The Rs 239 plan, the same as Rs 199, offers 1.5GB per day data, unlimited calls, and 100 SMS per day,” a statements aid.

The popular Rs 249 prepaid plan will now cost users Rs 299. In addition, it will offer 2GB per day of data, unlimited calls, and 100 SMS per day. Another popular unlimited plan of Rs 329 will now cost Rs 395 while the benefits remain the same. The new Rs 395 will offer prepaid users 6GB of data for the entire duration of 84 days, along with unlimited calls and 1000 SMS.

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Vi showcases 5G

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NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), leading telecom operator, today demonstrated a range of 5G-based technology solutions as part of its ongoing 5G trials on government allocated 5G spectrum in Pune, Maharashtra and Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

According to Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea Limited, “With our 5G trials underway, Vi is preparing to take India on the next journey of fifth generation wireless mobile communication technology. Our 5G trials showcase a whole new world of possibilities across various domains that promise a new era of technology advancement in India. I am confident that 5G will bring a better tomorrow that will deliver significant benefits to consumers, businesses and society, driving digital economy growth in India.”

With the purpose for a better tomorrow, Vi has been conducting 5G trials and developed a wide range of use cases relevant for Enterprises and Consumers in India. Vi has partnered with industry leaders like L&T Smart World & Communication, Athonet, Indian start-ups like Vizzbee & Tweek Labs, and technology leaders – Ericsson and Nokia for trialling use cases in the two locations.

Committed to helping its customers thrive and have a better tomorrow, Vi is leveraging the power of 5G technology across segments such as industry 4.0, smart cities, smart healthcare, smart workplace, smart education, smart agriculture, gaming, amongst others. Vi’s trials have proven that high data speed, low latency and reliability of 5G technology, can bring about massive developments by enhancing business performance, revolutionizing customer experience, changing consumer lifestyle and positively impacting people dwelling in remote corners of India.

Vi has been allocated 26 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum in the mmWave band by the DoT, for 5G network trials and use cases. Vi has achieved peak speeds in excess of 1.5 Gbps on 3.5 GHz, more than 4.2 Gbps on 26 GHz and up to 9.8 Gbps on backhaul spectrum of E-bands.

The 5G trial network set up by Vi in Pune, deploys Ericsson Radios and Ericsson Dual Mode Core based on cloud native technology comprising of 5G SA, 5G NSA & LTE packet core functions. All use cases demonstrated in Pune have been developed over Ericsson’s 5G technology solutions.

In Gandhinagar, Vi is using Nokia’s AirScale radio portfolio and Microwave E-band solution for the trial that support enterprises, both large and small and medium businesses with reliable connectivity. Vi use cases in Gandhinagar were demonstrated via a live telecast at the special media preview held in Pune.

 

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