Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile operator in India, deployed Huawei’s CloudAir to maximise use of 8.8MHz of 900MHz spectrum in a move to improve its 4G coverage to compete with rival Reliance Jio.

Airtel CTO Abhay Savargaonkar said CloudAir gives it the ability to deploy LTE within the same 900MHz band alongside GSM and UMTS, which “improves our LTE coverage significantly”.

Huawei said in a statement CloudAir allows different radio access technologies to share spectrum resources dynamically instead of using traditional spectrum sharing solutions. This works via an on-demand spectrum allocation method replacing static allocation, which enables the operator’s 900MHz spectrum to serve GSM, UMTS and LTE simultaneously.

The equipment vendor said CloudAir was deployed in more than 30 commercial networks by end-2017. Compared with traditional static allocation schemes, CloudAir allots air interface resources – including spectrum, power and channel – in a dynamic scheme according to traffic demand or mobile user location. This helps mobile operators significantly improve their network spectral efficiency, capacity and user experience, it said.

Airtel, with about a 24 per cent market share, doubled its 4G connections to 16.7 million during 2017, while Jio’s LTE connections hit 145 million at end-2017, GSMA Intelligence estimated.

Jio, which launched service in September 2016, held a 12 per cent market share at end-2017.