Pulling all punches to remain in the future telecom technology race likely to be dominated by 5G technology, telecom giants Bharti Airtel and Tata Group have announced a strategic partnership to implement Open-RAN-based 5G networks solutions for India.
According to the plan, Airtel will pilot and deploy this indigenous solution developed by the Tata Group as part of its 5G rollout plans in India and start the pilot in January 2022. The Tata Group has meanwhile, developed a ‘state of the art' O-RAN based Radio & 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.
“We are delighted to join forces with the Tata Group to make India a global hub for 5G and allied technologies. With its world-class technology ecosystem and talent pool, India is well-positioned to build cutting-edge solutions and applications for the world. This will also provide a massive boost to India becoming an innovation and manufacturing destination,” Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia) Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brings its global system integration expertise and helps align the end-to-end solution to both 3GPP and O-RAN standards, as the network and equipment are increasingly embedded into the software.
According to the company, these ‘Made in India' 5G products and solutions are aligned to global standards and interoperate with other products based on standard open interfaces and those defined by the O-RAN Alliance. 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.
“As a Group, we are excited about the opportunity presented by 5G and adjacent possibilities. We are committed to building a world-class networking equipment and solutions business to address these opportunities in the networking space,” N Ganapathy Subramaniam from the Tata Group/ TCS said in a joint statement.
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 the city of Hyderabad. The Company has started 5G trials in major cities using spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom.
The Tata group's telecom and media enterprises cater to the communication requirements of global business houses to SMEs, and from wholesale to home networks. Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is a member of the O-RAN Alliance.