Following positive trial results and performance, Vodafone Idea said it has decided to expand Samsung deployments

Indian operator Vodafone Idea said it is actively discussing new technologies with Korean vendor Samsung, including virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) solutions, for its 4G and 5G deployments.

Over the past 12-18 months, the two companies have conducted network trials in Chennai, India, Vodafone Idea said in a statement. The telco added that following positive trial results and performance, Vodafone Idea has decided to expand Samsung deployments to the Karnataka and Bihar circles.

These deployments have enabled the Indian carrier to meet its 5G Minimum Rollout Obligation (MRO) in Chennai, Karnataka and Bihar using NSA vRAN architecture.

Jagbir Singh, CTO at Vodafone Idea Limited, 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.”

Vodafone Idea is also in talks with Ericsson, Nokia and Mavenir for its 4G network expansion and 5G rollout in the country.

Vodafone Idea has recently completed its 5G rollout obligation in all the 17 telecom circles across the country, according to local press reports.

The company had acquired spectrum in the 3.3 GHz and 26 GHz bands during the 2022 auctions.

Indian regulations stipulate that those operators failing to complete the minimum rollout before a specified date and according to the terms of the Department of Telecom (DoT) may have their 5G frequencies cancelled.

Vodafone Idea, which is a joint venture between Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group, recently concluded its $2.16 billion follow-on public offer (FPO) and also raised about $648.5 million from 74 anchor investors. Vodafone Idea recently said it expects to use the equity and debt funding to deploy its 5G service across India within six to seven months of securing the funds; it was also seeking funds to bolster its 4G network and pay tower vendors.

Vodafone Idea also recently announced its intention to borrow INR 230 billion ($2.76 billion) in term loans and sought an additional INR 100 billion in bank guarantees, according to a report by The Economic Times. The carrier submitted its loan proposal to a State Bank of India (SBI)-led banking consortium with the main aim of seeking funds to upgrade its mobile broadband network infrastructure across its 17 priority markets in India.

With this funding, the telco aims to be in a better position to compete with rival operator Bharti Airtl and Reliance Jio Infocomm by enhancing its 4G coverage and deploying 5G. Both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have already deployed pan-India 5G networks.

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