India's Vodafone Idea expands 4G and 5G deal with Samsung

Samsung will be deploying its vRAN solution for Vodafone Idea as part of the operator's 4G expansion in India, as well as 5G deployment in two service areas.

Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Samsung logo on a building

India's third-largest service provider, Vodafone Idea, has expanded a contract with Samsung, a South Korean telecom gear maker, to cover 4G network extension and the rollout of 5G technology in the circles (service areas) of Karnataka and Bihar.

The service provider had been engaged with Samsung for the last 12 to 18 months for network trials in Chennai. "These setups have enabled Vi to fulfil its 5G Minimum Rollout Obligation (MRO) in these three circles (Chennai, Karnataka and Bihar) with NSA [non-standalone] vRAN [virtual radio access network] architecture," the press release said.  

"This vRAN deployment, delivered through Samsung's innovation and joint technological strategic initiatives, is in sync with our technology transformation roadmap and enriched vendor ecosystem. We see a major role ahead for hybrid architecture in delivering the network enhanced capabilities that will push new dimensions in radio architecture," said Jagbir Singh, chief technology officer, Vodafone Idea, in the press release.

Vodafone Idea believes that Samsung's vRAN solution will enable it to "ensure quality, credibility and robustness, delivering performance similar to that of traditional hardware-based equipment. It also provides the ability to cover a wide range of spectrums and technologies (5G, 4G & 2G)."

Samsung has also received 5G business from India's top two telcos, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. It was earlier working exclusively with Reliance Jio. The departure of Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE from India has contributed to Samsung’s emergence in India.

Vodafone Idea is also in talks with other players, including Ericsson and Nokia, to finalize vendors for 4G expansion and 5G network deployment. It recently allotted equity to Ericsson and Nokia to clear its outstanding dues. The company was also in the news recently for conducting an open RAN trial with Mavenir. The service provider plans to launch 5G services later this year. 

With Airtel's CEO mentioning muted capex this year in the recent earnings call, the vendors are banking on Vodafone Idea for business this year

The company has been losing subscribers because it was unable to invest in upgrading its 4G network. It recently turned the corner by launching a follow-on public offer (FPO), which generated funds for network expansion and upgradation.

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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