With Reliance Jio saying it would deploy locally-developed 5G tech, can others be far behind? Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, and Tata Group, yesterday announced a strategic partnership for implementing 5G networks solutions for India.
According to a joint official statement, Tata Group has 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.
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 software.
Airtel will pilot and deploy this indigenous solution as part of its 5G rollout plans in India and start the pilot in January 2022, as per the guidelines formulated by the Indian Government.
These ‘Made in India’ 5G products and solutions are aligned to global standards, and inter- operate 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, the statement said.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia) Bharti Airtel, said, “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.”
Ganapathy Subramaniam from the Tata Group/ TCS, said, “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. We are pleased to have Airtel as our customer in this initiative.”
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.
Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 471 million customers in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally and its networks cover over two billion people.
Airtel is India’s largest integrated communications solutions provider and the second largest mobile operator in Africa.
The Tata group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising 30 companies across 10 verticals. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘to improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’.
Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company and promoter of Tata companies. Sixty-six percent of the equity share capital of Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts, which support education, health, livelihood generation and art and culture.