Bharti Airtel,formally known as “Airtel” announced the deployment of India’s first state-of-the-art Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology which is a key enabler for 5G networks. As one of the few commercial deployment of Massive MIMO globally, the deployment puts India on the world map of technology advancement and digital revolution. Airtel is starting with the first round of deployment in Bangalore & Kolkata and will expand to other parts of the country soon.
Deployed as part of Airtel’s ongoing network transformation program, Project Leap, the Massive MIMO technology will expand existing network capacity by five to seven times using the existing spectrum, thereby improving spectral efficiency. Customers will now be able to experience two to three times super fast speeds on the existing 4G network. Data speeds will now also be seamless, offering enhanced user experience even indoors, in crowded places and high rise buildings. It would enable multiple users and multiple devices to work simultaneously without facing any congestion or experience issues especially at hotspot locations.
Massive MIMO is a key enabler and foundation for technology revolutions to come. It is a pre-5G technology that will make the network future ready for meeting the data demand coming from digital revolution and data explosion in India. Customers can enjoy these faster data speeds on their existing 4G mobile devices without any upgrades or plan change. Massive MIMO deployment uses green technology and thus helps reduce carbon footprint.
AbhaySavargaonkar, Director – Networks, Bharti Airtel said, “India is fast striding towards exponential and unprecedented data growth. Our latest deployment of Massive MIMO, will help us serve this demand and would also give an impetus to build a future ready network. The deployment gives us a strategic advantage to provide faster speeds and enhanced user experience for our customers, thereby translating into improved spectrum efficiency.”
Massive MIMO creates 3D beams both on horizontal and vertical planes towards users located within its coverage footprint. This helps in improving coverage and reducing interference across users in different beams, thereby improving signal quality (SINR) by 2-3dB. Serving multiple users by re-using same set of resource blocks (MU-MIMO) with improved signal quality helps in improving user experience, cell capacity and spectrum efficiency.
Airtel recently also announced a strategic partnership with Korean telecommunications service provider SK Telecom to leverage its expertise to build the most advanced telecom network in India. Under this partnership, Airtel and SKT will also collaborate on an on-going basis towards jointly building and enabling an ecosystem for the introduction of evolved technology standards of 5G, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT) in the Indian context.