Cisco announced two much-needed service provider customer wins on Monday, including one with Bharti Airtel, which is one of India's largest carriers. Both announcements were related to building 5G infrastructures.
Like other vendors, including Juniper Networks, Cisco's service provider revenues have been down over the past few quarters due to a slower rollout of 5G and 400G services and applications, among other factors. In February's second fiscal quarter earnings report, Cisco said its service provider orders fell 11%. Cisco recently announced it was re-aligning its groups to better serve its customers' challenges, as well as a round of layoffs.
Last year, Cisco announced Airtel would use its Viptela-based SD-WAN technology and its Webex conferencing platform. On Monday, Cisco announced it was working with Airtel on the carrier's 5G-ready, 100G IP and optical integrated network. With India being one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, Airtel is building a new "IP over Ethernet over fiber network." The new brownfield network is the largest of its kind in India.
The new network will collapse multiple legacy domains to build a flatter, more simplified and automated IP network. It uses Cisco's integrated IP and optical solutions along with segment routing to better reach the rural areas of India via a software-defined platform to enable mobile internet growth.
India is currently the world's second largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.17 billion. Bharti Airtel is locked into competition with Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea to win over subscribers in India.
Cisco also announced on Monday that it was working with Philippines service provider PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications. In order to deliver 5G services, Cisco is helping PLDT build its new converged SDN transport infrastructure, which includes a central SDN controller to provision network automation.
The new network is an end-to-end IP and optical network enabled with segment routing to provide a unified, policy-aware network architecture with integration between the transport and the data center domains, according to Cisco.