Bharti Airtel and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have entered into a partnership to implement 5G networking solutions for the country. Solutions developed through the collaboration are slated to be available for commercial development starting January 2022.
As part of the agreement Mumbai based information technology (IT) services firm TCS has built an open radio access network (O-RAN) along with a standalone/non-standalone core. The company has also integrated an indigenous telecom stack, said a joint statement from the companies on Monday.
“Earlier this year, Airtel became the first telecom company in India to demonstrate 5G over its LIVE network in city of Hyderabad,” said N Ganapathy Subramaniam, chief operating officer at TCS.
Airtel had already started 5G trials in major cities using spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom. The telecom giant started with Gurugram about a week ago.
TCS will also help with the global system integration of the end-to-end solution to 3GPP and O-RAN standards to keep at pace with networks and equipment being increasingly embedded into software. The solution will be piloted, starting January 2022, by Airtel along with its general 5G rollout plans which it said are in line with the guidelines formulated by the government.
The yet to be named 5G product will be interoperate with other products based on standard open interfaces as defined by German O-RAN congregation the O-RAN Alliance.
O-RAN Alliance, founded in 2018, consists of telecom operators such as AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO and Orange. Airtel, Vodafone, and Reliance Jio are elected members of the organisation that lays down guidelines for RAN usage globally.
“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,” Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said.
Airtel added that once the solution finds a foothold in the country, viable export options will be considered to expand beyond India, which is currently the world’s second largest telecom market.