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Google to invest up to $1 billion in Airtel

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Google today announced that they will partner on a long-term, multi-year agreement to accelerate the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. Together, they will work to bring best-in-class end-to-end products to serve customer needs, provide quality customer experience, and bring their expertise to solve problems of affordability, access, and digital inclusion.

As part of this partnership, Google intends to invest up to $1B, as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund, which includes equity investment as well as a corpus for potential commercial agreements, to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the course of the next five years. This will comprise:

A $700M equity investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of Rs 734. Up to $300M that will go towards implementing commercial agreements, which will include investments in scaling Airtel’s offerings that covers a range of devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs as well as other offerings aimed at accelerating access and digital inclusion across India’s digital ecosystem.

This deal will be subject to necessary regulatory approvals. The two organizations recognize the importance of a connected India, in empowering businesses as they progress on their Digital Transformation journeys, and building a strong digital ecosystem for consumers everywhere. Both organizations are committed to working towards building an open technology ecosystem that serves customers and businesses with innovative digital services, and have agreed to jointly explore and invest across a wide spectrum of areas to create digital solutions that uniquely serve India’s requirements.

As a part of its first commercial agreement, Airtel and Google will work together to build on Airtel’s extensive offerings that covers a range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs. Together, the companies will continue to explore further opportunities to bring down the barriers of owning a smartphone across a range of price points, in partnership with various device manufacturers.

Under the larger strategic goals of the partnership, both companies will also potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, with cutting-edge implementations. Airtel is already using Google’s 5G-ready Evolved Packet Core & Software Defined Network platforms, and plans to explore scaling up the deployment of Google’s network virtualisation solutions to deliver a superior network experience to their customers.

Both companies will also focus on shaping and growing the cloud ecosystem in India to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. Airtel serves over one million small and medium businesses with its enterprise connectivity offering, and this partnership will help accelerate digital adoption.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel said, “Airtel and Google share the vision to grow India’s digital dividend through innovative products. With our future ready network, digital platforms, last mile distribution and payments ecosystem, we look forward to working closely with Google to increase the depth and breadth of India’s digital ecosystem.”

“Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India’s digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”

 

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Apple rolls out beta programme for iPhones to enable 5G services

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NEW DELHI: Apple Inc has rolled out a beta programme to enable 5G on Apple devices as the upgrade lets users try out pre-release software.

This software upgrade enables 5G access on Apple devices, as and when service providers Jio, Airtel and Vodafone enable 5G network access, sources said.

Apple Users have to enrol for the Beta Programme on the website, install a profile and download the software.

Jio users using iPhone 12 and above, in cities where JioTrue5G has been rolled out, will be invited to the Jio Welcome Offer. Jio Welcome Offer provides unlimited 5G data at up to 1 Gbps speed to users at no additional cost. However, there is a condition that prepaid users must be on active Rs 239 and above plan. All Postpaid users are eligible for this trial.

Airtel is not providing any special 5G offer like Jio to their users. In the cities/areas in which the Airtel 5G network has been launched, users can trial 5G services as a part of their existing plan, once they have updated the latest Apple Beta software.

While an email sent to Apple did not solicit an immediate response, the firm had last month stated: “We are working with our carrier partners in India to bring the best 5G experience to iPhone users as soon as network validation and testing for quality and performance is completed. 5G will be enabled via a software update and will start rolling out to iPhone users in December”.

Airtel and Jio customers on iPhone 14, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 and iPhone SE (3rd generation) models can experience 5G as part of Apple’s iOS 16 Beta Software Program. The Apple Beta Software Program is open to anyone with a valid Apple ID who accepts the Apple Beta Software Program Agreement during the sign-up process.

If a user has an iCloud account, that is an Apple ID, it is recommended they use that. If they do not have an iCloud account or any other Apple ID, they can create one.

Customers who want to try the beta software should back up their iPhones before installing the beta software. It is recommended to install the beta software only on non-production devices that are not business-critical. Users can also provide feedback to Apple on quality and usability, which helps Apple identify issues, fix them, and make Apple software even better.

The iOS beta comes with the built-in Feedback Assistant app, which can be opened from the Home screen on the iPhone or iPad or from the Dock on the Mac.

Source: Press Trust of India

 

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Nokia wins multi-year deal with Reliance Jio India to build one of the largest 5G networks in the world

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NEW DELHI: Nokia has announced that it has been selected as a major supplier by Reliance Jio to supply 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio countrywide in a multi-year deal. Reliance Jio is India’s number one mobile operator and has one of the largest RAN footprints in the world.

Under the contract, Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO antennas, and Remote Radio Heads (RRH) to support different spectrum bands, and self-organizing network software. Reliance Jio plans to deploy a 5G standalone network which will interwork with its 4G network. The network will enable Reliance Jio to deliver advanced 5G services such as massive machine-to-machine communications, network slicing, and ultra-low-latency.

Akash Ambani, Chairman Reliance Jio, commented: “We are pleased to be working with Nokia for our 5G SA deployment in India. Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of all of its customers. We are confident that our partnership with Nokia will deliver one of the most advanced 5G networks globally.”

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO at Nokia stated: “This is a significant win for Nokia in an important market and a new customer with one of the largest RAN footprints in the world. This ambitious project will introduce millions of people across India to premium 5G services, enabled by our industry-leading AirScale portfolio. We are proud that Reliance Jio has placed its trust in our technology and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with them.”

Nokia has a long-standing presence in India. This new deal will mean that Nokia is now supplying India’s three largest mobile operators.

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Ericsson partners with Jio to build industry’s first 5G Standalone network

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NEW DELHI: Ericsson has announced that it has entered into a long-term strategic 5G contract with Indian communications service provider (CSP) Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (Jio) to roll out 5G Standalone (SA) in the country.

The announcement follows the allocation of 5G spectrum in the recently concluded auctions in India. This is the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country.

Announcing the partnership, Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio, says: “We are delighted to partner with Ericsson for Jio’s 5G SA rollout. Jio transformed the digital landscape in India with the launch of LTE services in 2016. We are confident that Jio’s 5G network will accelerate India’s digitalization and will serve as the foundation for achieving our nation’s ‘Digital India’ vision.”

Jio’s Standalone 5G network deployment represents a major technology leap since it modernizes the network infrastructure to deliver a truly transformative 5G experience to consumers and enterprises. The capabilities of 5G SA are expected to drive innovation and build a robust 5G ecosystem and deliver advanced services.

Ericsson’s energy-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions from Ericsson Radio System and E-band microwave mobile transport solution will be deployed in the 5G network for Jio. All products and solutions are deployed on new-build 5G SA networks, designed to maximize the benefits of 5G to CSPs and their customers – whether individual subscribers or enterprise and industry customers.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “India is building world-class digital infrastructure that will drive innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship across the country. We are happy to partner with Jio in those ambitions, through Ericsson 5G Standalone connectivity, which will be a major catalyst in meeting those digital transformation goals across society, enterprise and industry.”

 

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