Airtel recently became India's first telco to demonstrate 5G over a live commercial network in Hyderabad city, underlining the company's technology capabilities.
"Through Airtel's network vendors and device partners, Airtel will utilize the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms to roll-out virtualized and Open RAN-based 5G networks. Airtel, as a board member of the O-RAN Alliance, is committed to driving the success of O-RAN and is working with Qualcomm Technologies to explore and implement the O-RAN approach for India," according to a company statement.
The flexible and scalable architecture of O-RAN will enable new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to become viable players in the deployment of 5G networks, it added.
Open RAN or open radio access network architecture is an industry terminology for interoperability and standardisation of radio access network elements including products and software from various vendors.
Airtel and Qualcomm Technologies will also collaborate to enable a wide array of use cases, including 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) that is geared to deliver broadband connectivity at Gigabit speeds to homes and businesses.
"This collaboration also aims to allow a faster rollout of broadband services in a cost effective and expeditious manner across India for 'last mile' connectivity challenges that are becoming increasingly important in today's remote, mobile-first society," the statement pointed out.
Airtel 5G solutions including FWA services are expected to deliver multi-gigabit internet speeds wirelessly to customers and open up a slew of innovations.
For users, the ultra-fast and low latency of 5G will usher a digital world of 'limitless possibilities' such as gigabit size file downloads in seconds and 4K video streaming on-the-go across smartphones and computing devices, immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality and Smart Homes.
Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel said, We are delighted to have Qualcomm Technologies as a key technology provider in our journey to roll-out world-class 5G in India. With Airtel's integrated service portfolio and Qualcomm Technologies' 5G leadership, we will be well placed to usher India into the next era of hyper-fast and ultra-low latency digital connectivity."
Rajen Vagadia, Vice President of QUALCOMM India Private Limited and President, Qualcomm India emphasised that there is a compelling case to accelerate the roll-out of 5G networks in India, as it will help fast-track the country's socio-economic growth and development.
"We are pleased to be working with Airtel, and we are excited by the opportunity ahead. This collaboration is expected to play a critical role in Airtel's plans to add 5G network coverage and capacity where and when it is needed the most," Vagadia added.