Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with South Korea’s SK Telecom to work on further optimising its network-based customer and device experience, as well as to collaborate on developing 5G technology architecture in India. Under the alliance, Bharti will leverage SK Telecom’s expertise in network technology to optimise its networks in a bid to improve customer experience, use machine learning and big data to measure network quality and experience at customer device level.
The strategic alliance with SK Telecom comes at a time when Bharti is in the process of rolling out VoLTE services with a launch in Mumbai on Monday, which will be followed by similar launches in metros in the next 30 days and across the country by March 2018.
Bharti said that the partnership will work across several areas including developing bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data and building customised tools to improve network planning based on every customer’s device experience. The capacity to identify, monitor and deliver improvements to the network experience on an individual device basis will be a first in India, helped by SK Telecom’s global leadership in this area. The two companies will also collaborate on an ongoing basis to evolve standards for 5G, network functions virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context, it added.
Bharti chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “This partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world.”
SK Telecom’s president and CEO Park Jung-ho said that the alliance will aim to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers.