Airtel lands deal with IntelliSmart to connect 20m smart meters

Airtel lands deal with IntelliSmart to connect 20 million smart meters

Indian telco Bharti Airtel said on Thursday its enterprise unit has formed a strategic partnership with smart metering and digital solutions provider IntelliSmart Infrastructure to provide connectivity for up to 20 million smart meters.

Under the partnership, IntelliSmart will use Airtel Business’ IoT Hub to track and monitor its smart meters with advanced analytics, while benefiting from telco-grade reliability and security.

The Airtel IoT hub is hosted in the operator’s cloud network, which Airtel says enables enterprise users to seamlessly connect and manage billions of devices and applications. The hub also makes use of multiple connectivity options, including 4G (NB-IoT or LTE-M), 2G and 3G, depending on the scenario and device requirements. The IntelliSmart deal will likely initially use NB-IoT, which is designed to support low-power devices like smart meters and sensors.

5G is also a future option with the implementation of RedCap (Reduced Capability), an enhancement of 3GPP Release 17 that enables simple, low-power devices to use 5G NR networks. Airtel announced in October that it successfully tested RedCap software from Ericsson on its 5G network.

Airtel claims its IntelliSmart partnership is the largest such deal in India’s smart metering space. If nothing else it’s the largest one for Airtel after its partnership with Secure Meters – announced in April – to deploy 1.3 million smart meters in Bihar using NB-IoT. In December 2022, it won a contract with TP Western Odisha Distribution Limited (TPWODL) – a joint venture between the Odisha government and Tata Power – to deploy 200,000 smart meters in Odisha.

Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, CEO of Airtel Business (India) said the IntelliSmart deal will significantly contribute towards the company’s fast-growing IoT business.

“IoT is one of the fastest-growing business segments for Airtel Business,” he said. “As we connect the devices across the country on our platform, we will exponentially grow our current IoT market share of 55.4% [as of Q1 FY23-24].”

He also said that the deal enables Airtel to “play a pivotal role” in driving the government of India’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiative, which aims to convert 250 million conventional meters in India to smart meters over the next five years.


Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.