Bharti Airtel and SK Telecom of Korea have announced a strategic partnership under which Airtel will leverage the latter's expertise to build advanced telecom network in India.

SK Telecom is Korea’s largest telecommunications company with more than 29 million mobile subscribers, which accounts for around 50 percent of the total market. In 2015, the company’s revenue and net income reached KRW 17.137 trillion and KRW 1.516 trillion, respectively.

Airtel said 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, it 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," Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Airtel said.

The two companies will also collaborate on an on-going 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, he said.

“With SK Telecom’s clear and undisputed leadership in technology, this is one partnership that will decisively change the game in India and put the country at par with the most advanced broadband nations in the world," Mittal added.

Established in March 1984, SK Telecom has led the development of the global mobile telecommunications industry by launching CDMA (2G), WCDMA (3G) and LTE-A (4G) for the first time in the world.

As of the end of October 2016, the number of SK Telecom’s LTE subscribers marked 20.55 million, taking up around 70 percent of the company’s total mobile subscriber base.

Furthermore, with the aim to achieve early commercialisation of 5G, SK Telecom is aggressively developing key enabling technologies under its 5G roadmap, the company said.

“SK Telecom will work closely with Bharti to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers," Park Jung-ho, President and CEO of SK Telecom, said. – The Hindu Business Line