In Brief:Airtel taps Nokia for 4G expansion 

Bharti Airtel,India’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, has contracted Finnish vendor Nokia to expand its 3G and 4G networks. Under the programme Nokia will deploy frequency division duplex LTE (FDD-LTE) and time division duplex LTE (TD-LTE) equipment in a total of nine circles, including three new circles and six where the operator already offers 4G services. The rollout will cover the circles of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh East.In addition to the 4G network development,Nokia will also boost Airtel’s 3G footprint in eight of the aforementioned regions by upgrading the cellco’s legacy 3G base transceiver stations (BTS).

***Nokia and STC have signed an agreement to expand high-speed mobile broadband capacity and coverage in Saudi Arabia using Nokia's 4.5G technology. The enhanced network will meet the ever-increasing demands of subscribers across the country, including the millions of visitors who travel to the cities of Mecca and Medina each year, particularly during the Hajj and Ramadan seasons. Nokia has already completed the first phase of the deployment in Mecca and Medina, where it asked to dramatically increase capacity. Using 4.5G technology, including Saudi Arabia's first indoor small cells deployment, STC managed the huge traffic demands during this year's Hajj pilgrimage, which during peak times recorded an increase in 4G traffic of 600 percent compared to 2015.

***Reliance Communications (RCOM), India’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers, has signed a non-binding agreement with Brookfield Infrastructure Group regarding the sale of its roughly 45,000 towers and related infrastructure for INR110 billion (USD1.64 billion) . Under the terms of the deal, the relevant assets would be transferred from RCOM’s infrastructure arm Reliance Infratel to a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) that would be split 51/49 between Brookfield and RCOM. The pact would also see RCOM stay on as an anchor tenant on the towers on a long-term basis. The cellco intends to use the proceeds of the sale to reduce its debt.

***After teaming up with Ericsson, C&W Communications has finished a complete network expansion of its operations in the Caribbean and Panama, addressing increasing data traffic demands by boosting speeds and network performance. C&W, now part of Liberty Global, had announced in August that it had signed agreements with Ericsson and Cisco to install three IP Caribbean networks that will serve as a backbone for IPTV services, fixed operations and business-to-business (B2B) services.

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