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Nokia signs major deal with Indian telecoms firm Airtel

The multi-year agreement is valued at 900 million euros.

airtel ja nokia -logot
Nokia and Airtel signage. Image: AOP

Finnish networking firm Nokia has reached a multi-year agreement to provide Indian telecoms firm Bharti Airtel with network equipment in a deal valued at around 900 million euros, the company announced on Tuesday.

The equipment rollout - which will boost its current network capacity - is scheduled to be completed by 2022 and will help the country transition later on to next-generation 5G mobile networking technology, according to the firm.

Airtel is one of the largest telecom firms in India, a country that has the second-largest telecoms market in the world. The firm has operations in 18 countries, including in South Asia and Africa, as well as the Channel Islands.

Nokia’s president and CEO, Rajeev Suri, said the deal solidified the firm’s position in India.

"We have worked closely with Bharti Airtel for many years and are delighted to extend this long-standing partnership further. This project will enhance their current networks and deliver best-in-class connectivity to Airtel customers but also lay the foundations for 5G services in the future," Suri said in the statement.

5G struggles

Nokia has encountered rough waters for some time now, especially with respect to 5G technology development. At the beginning of this year, the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority said it had launched a preliminary investigation into an unusual drop in the networks giant's share price last autumn.

At the beginning of March, Nokia announced that Suri would be stepping down as the company’s chief executive and will be replaced by Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark on 1 September.

Shortly after that announcement, Nokia said it had decided to reduce headcount by 148 positions in Finland following the conclusion of redundancy talks.

Earlier this month, Nokia again came under scrutiny after rumours emerged about a possible hostile takeover of the firm.

Edited to reflect clarify that the project will enhance Airtel's current networks, and not a 5G project.

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