Telecom major Bharti Airtel and the US tech corporation Intel will collaborate to accelerate 5G network development in India by leveraging vRAN/O-RAN technologies.
Airtel said the collaboration is part of its 5G roadmap for India as it transforms its networks to allow its customers to reap the full possibilities of Industry 4.0, cloud gaming, and virtual/augmented reality.
Notably, Airtel is conducting 5G trials in major cities and is the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G over a live network.
While vRAN is the virtualised radio access network technology that's crucial for advancing 5G. It helps in converting hardware-driven functions, making them virtualised. O-RAN (Open RAN) is a term used for industry-wide standards for RAN interfaces that support interoperation between vendors' equipment and offer network flexibility at a lower cost.
Airtel said it will deploy Intel’s latest 3rd gen “Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, and Ethernet 800 series to build a solid foundation for rolling out wide-scale 5G, mobile edge computing and network slicing”.
"As members of the O-RAN Alliance, Airtel and Intel will work closely for developing a range of Make in India 5G solutions and enabling world-class telecom infrastructure in India through local partners," the company said in a statement.
As per the company, the O-RAN technology will be an area of tremendous innovation and creativity in the coming years. "These O-RAN platforms will leverage Intel FlexRAN, a reference architecture with both software and hardware components, and enable software-based radio base stations that can run on general-purpose servers located at the network edge."
Randeep Sekhon, CTO–Bharti Airtel said, “Airtel is delighted to have Intel as a part of its rapidly expanding partner ecosystem for 5G. Intel’s cutting-edge technologies and experience will contribute immensely to Airtel’s mission of serving India with world-class 5G services."
Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president, Network Platforms Group said being able to digitally power the vibrant population of India’s connected users requires scalable and agile networks that can evolve to address the growing demands of its users.
Led by affordable smartphones and the lowest data tariffs globally, India has the world’s second-largest internet population at over 620 million as per IAMAI–Kantar Cube. The country’s active internet user base is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025.
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