Ericsson deepens Bharti Airtel partnership, signs deal with Softbank

Elsewhere, Telstra will roll out out Nokia's EdenNet Self-Organising Network on its 3G, 4G, and 5G RAN.

Bharti Airtel has renewed its agreement with Ericsson that will see the Swedish telecom vendor deliver managed network operations across India through its Ericsson Operation Engine.  

Under the three-year deal, Ericsson will deploy its AI-driven managed services, network, and automation technologies to enhance Airtel's mobile network performance. It will also manage the telco's network operations centre and field maintenance activities across India.

The agreement builds on a 25-year relationship between the two companies.

"We are confident these new technologies will enable us to serve the emerging data requirements of customers in a digitally connected India," Bharti Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon said.

In addition, Ericsson has also inked a deal with SoftBank to deliver cloud-based, dual-mode 5G Core that will underpin Softbank's 5G network.

Ericsson said the partnership would give the Japanese telco access to its Cloud Packet Core, Cloud Unified Data Management and Policy, and NFVI solutions.

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According to Ericsson, its 5G Core will enable Softbank to develop 5G use cases for mobile broadband users, as well as enterprises and industry partners.

"Ericsson's cloud native dual-mode 5G Core provides the cutting-edge container-based microservice architecture that will help SoftBank to both develop new business models ... as well as to move onto the next level of network operational efficiency," head of Ericsson Japan Luca Orsini said.

This latest announcement is in addition to Softbank announcing in May it would team up with Ericsson for its AirsScale solution to deliver its 5G radio access network (RAN).

Ericsson's second-quarter results, announced on Monday, was a mixed bag. The company saw revenue come in 1% higher than the same period last year at 55.6 billion Swedish krona, operating income up by 3% to 3.7 billion krona compared to the same period last year, and a 40% increase in net income to 2.6 billion krona.

Elsewhere, Nokia has delivered its EdenNet Self-Organising Network (SON) for Telstra to help the Australian telco increase automation on its RAN as it moves to 5G.

The Finnish telecom provider touted the agreement will allow Telstra to roll out its EdenNet SON solution on its multi-vendor 3G, 4G, and 5G RAN.

"Nokia's Open SON framework APIs hide the complexity of the underlying network, allowing Telstra to focus on automating the configuration of our network to help provide greater reliability, faster speeds and peace of mind for our customers," Telstra networking engineering executive Ashley Hunter said.

On Tuesday, Nokia announced commercial availability of new 5G "standalone" private wireless networking solutions for the enterprise in industries such as mining and automotive. Unlike non-standalone 5G, the standalone version of 5G networking doesn't rely on existing 4G infrastructure.

Both Nokia and Ericsson are popular among telcos in the Asia-Pacific. Last year, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, which is now known as TPG, decided to go with Nokia to supply its 5G equipment. Meanwhile, Telstra has been working closely with Ericsson to deliver its 5G network. In July last year, the pair successfully made a standalone 5G call.

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