Airtel and Tata Group join hands for indigenous 5G network solution, pilot project will start from January 2022

All the telecom companies are preparing for the next generation communication service i.e. 5G service in the country. Meanwhile, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Airtel has joined hands with the Tata Group to provide a 5G network solution. In a joint statement issued by both the companies, it has been said that under this partnership, Tata Group will develop open radio based O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) and NSA / SA (Non-Standalone / Standalone) core. This will create an indigenous telecom stack. Also, the capacity of the Tata Group and its partners will increase.

The commercial development of this technology will be available from January 2022, the statement said. According to the statement, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will bring together its global system integration experts and help provide an end-to-end solution to the 3GPP & O-RAN standard. Airtel will deploy this indigenous solution as a pilot project under the 5G rollout plan. The pilot project for this will start from January 2022. These Made in India 5G products and solutions will be designed on the basis of global standards.

The commercial trials of this 5G solution in Airtel’s divers and brownfield networks will also create export opportunities for India. India is currently the second largest telecom market globally. Analysts say that the partnership with the Tata Group will boost the psychological morale of Bharti Airtel. Bharti Airtel was under pressure due to Reliance Jio launched in 2016.

The partnership is the result of a 2017 deal between Airtel and the Tata Group. Then the loss-making consumer mobile business of the Tata Group was merged with Mittal’s company. However, this partnership has no direct connection to that deal. The partnership will also reduce dependence on traditional equipment suppliers such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei. The main competition of this partnership will be with Reliance Jio.

N Ganapathy Subramaniam of Tata Group/TCS says that we are very excited about 5G technology. We are looking forward to producing world class networking equipment and solutions. We are very happy to have Airtel as our customer. Prashant Singhal, technology and telecom partner at Ernest & Young, says the partnership will create global business opportunities. This will accelerate the fight over indigenous technology.

In order to reduce foreign dependence in the development of 5G technology, the central government is emphasizing on the development of indigenous equipment. For this, the government has emphasized on increasing partnership between domestic companies. The aim of the government is to reduce the importance of China and European countries in 5G technology. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has advocated promoting domestic innovation and solutions.

Mukesh Ambani’s company Reliance Jio has developed indigenous 5G network. Jio has developed a 5G solution in collaboration with the American company Qualcomm. It has also been successfully tested in America. At the Indian Mobile Congress 2020, Mukesh Ambani had said that Reliance Jio is planning to launch 5G in the second half of 2021 (July-December). He further said that there is a need to take steps to maintain the digital lead in the country, introduce 5G and make it affordable and available everywhere.

The government has also allocated spectrum for starting 5G services in the country. The Department of Telecom has allotted 5G spectrum to the three leading companies of the country Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea for trial. DoT has allotted spectrum in 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands to the three telcos. These 5G trial airways have been allotted for 6 months. Telecom companies will have to conduct trials in urban areas as well as in rural and semi-urban areas.

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