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Airtel, China Mobile Tie Up For 5G, Telecom Equipment Procurement

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Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel and world's largest telecom operator China Mobile on Tuesday (3 March) announced a partnership to work jointly on evolving high technologies like 5G and procuring telecom devices and equipment.

This move gives Airtel and Chinese major an immense benefit of economies of scale to buy equipment and devices at very low price and also helps Airtel to take on Reliance Jio.

The agreement was signed by China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua and Bharti Airtel founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Speaking on the occasion, Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “We are delighted to announce this landmark agreement with China Mobile. India and China account for nearly third of all the mobile subscribers globally and this partnership will provide a major platform for development and deployment of 4G and future mobile technology standards as both countries enter a phase of explosive data led growth. We are confident that the exchange of best practices and innovations will help in delivering affordable high speed mobile internet to the masses and contribute to the Indian Government’s ‘Digital India’ vision.”

As founders of Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI), China Mobile and Airtel will cooperate on standards and products development, and promoting ecosystem to accelerate the commercialisation of TD-LTE, a 4G technology, and evolving 4.5G/5G technologies.

Under the agreement, both the telecom operators will work towards shaping up a joint strategy for procurement of devices that include portable wifi devices, smart phones, data cards, and LTE consumer premise equipment -- routers, modem and USIM (Universal SIM).

Both companies will work together for understanding and sharing testing and validation practices including network equipment, features and new releases etc, and will also jointly conduct proof of concepts as well as trials.

Airtel has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

It had over 312 million customers across its operations at the end of December 2014.

China Mobile is the world largest telecom operator both in terms of customer base and revenue.

As per GSM Association Intelligence report, China Mobile had over 790 million subscribers and a revenue of over 66 billion pounds at the end of the second quarter of 2014 while that of Airtel was about 8 billion pounds in the corresponding period.


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