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Airtel, Intel announce collaboration for 5G technology in India

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced a collaboration with Intel for 5G network development by leveraging virtual and open radio access network technologies and making indigenous solutions.

Bharti Airtel and other telecom operators are at present conducting 5G trials in select cities across India.

“The collaboration is part of Airtel’s 5G roadmap for India as it transforms its networks to allow its customers to reap the full possibilities of the hyperconnected world where Industry 4.0 to cloud gaming and virtual and augmented reality become an everyday experience,” Airtel said in a statement.

As part of the collaboration, Airtel will deploy Intel’s latest 3rd gen Xeon Scalable processors and other components across its network to build a foundation for rolling out wide-scale 5G, mobile edge computing, and network slicing.

“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. We also look forward to working with Intel and home-grown companies to unlock India’s potential as a global 5G hub,” Bharti Airtel Chief Technology Officer Randeep Sekhon said.

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 statement said.

Open radio access network (O-RAN) platforms will leverage Intel’s reference architecture with both software and hardware components for telecom networks and enable software-based radio base stations that can run on general-purpose servers located connected to the network.

“Airtel is delivering their next-generation enhanced network with a breadth of Intel technology, including Intel Xeon scalable processors and FlexRAN software to optimise RAN workloads with embedded intelligence, to scale their infrastructure, and deliver on the promise of a connected India,” Intel Corporate Vice President, Network Platforms Group, Dan Rodriguez said.

Intel has also partnered with Airtel’s competitor Reliance Jio to work on 5G technology.

According to an IAMAI-Kantar Cube report, India has the world’s second-largest internet population at over 620 million, and the country’s active internet user base is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025.

“The advent of 5G will further deepen the digital adoption through a range of industrial and customer use cases,” the statement said.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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