Vodafone Idea, Airtel In Talks With Samsung For 4G And 5G Tech

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  • Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India don’t want to get stuck with just two vendors — Ericsson and Nokia
  • Samsung is already getting “feelers” from telcos in India for both 4G and 5G technologies

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have initiated separate exploratory talks with Korean telecom gear maker Samsung for supplying equipment for their respective 4G and futuristic 5G networks even as uncertainty looms over the future of Huawei in India, after a US ban on the Chinese vendor.

Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India don’t want to get stuck with just two vendors — Ericsson and Nokia — in case of a ban on Huawei, as there could be demand and supply issues as well in such an eventuality, a person familiar with the strategy of one of the two telecom companies said to Economic Times.

Samsung getting the vibes
A second person told the news daily that Samsung is already getting “feelers” from telcos in India for both 4G and 5G technologies but, there are many steps required, including trials in India since commercial deployment has some time to start in the country.

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Both market leader Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel operate in a multi-vendor environment, but the former’s exposure to Chinese vendors, especially Huawei, increased lately after awarding new contracts to modernise and expand its 4G network in seven circles. Bharti Airtel also uses Huawei’s 4G equipment in several circles. Samsung so far works only with Reliance Jio in India.

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