Indian telecommunications firm Bharti Airtel, on Monday, announced a strategic partnership with IT services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for implementing 5G broadband network solutions in India.
Tata Group has developed a ‘state-of-the-art’ O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) based Radio and NSA/SA Core and has integrated a totally indigenous telecom stack, leveraging the Group capabilities and that of its partners. This will be available for commercial development starting January 2022.
As per the partnership, Airtel will pilot this indigenous solution during its 5G rollout. The pilot will begin in January 2022 as per Government of India guidelines.
“With its world-class technology ecosystem and talent pool, India is well-positioned to build groundbreaking solutions and applications for the world. This will also provide a massive boost to India becoming an innovation and manufacturing destination,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia) at Bharti Airtel.
The 5G solutions, once commercially proven in Airtel’s diverse and brownfield network, will open export opportunities for India, which is now the second-largest telecom market in the world after China.
Airtel is a Board member of the O-RAN Alliance and is committed to explore and implement O-RAN based networks in India. Earlier this year, Airtel became the first telecom company in India to demonstrate 5G over its LIVE network in Hyderabad. The Company has started 5G trials in major cities using spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom.
Other Indian telecom players such as Reliance Jio have also commenced 5G trials, even as experts believe that the prolonged second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay the countrywide rollout of the technology.