Airtel and Intel announce collaboration to accelerate 5G in India

Airtel and Intel announce collaboration to accelerate 5G in India
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
22 Jul, 2021

Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has entered into a collaboration with Intel for 5G network development by leveraging vRAN / O-RAN technologies.

The partnership will also allow Airtel to tap into the hyperconnected world where Industry 4.0, cloud gaming, and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) become an integral part of daily lives, according to a statement released by the company.

This is Intel’s second 5G-related partnership in India. It recently joined hands with Reliance Jio to help the telco with its 5G network development, including in the areas of 5G radio, core, cloud, edge, and artificial intelligence. Last year, Intel's venture capital unit invested $253.3 million in Jio platforms.

Airtel will deploy Intel’s 3rd generation Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, and Ethernet 800 series across its network to build a solid foundation for rolling out wide-scale 5G, mobile edge computing and network slicing, it said. 

Earlier this year, Airtel became the first telecom player in India to demonstrate 5G over a live network in Hyderabad using liberalized spectrum.

As members of the O-RAN Alliance, Airtel and Intel will work closely to develop a range of Make in India 5G solutions and enable telecom infrastructure in India through local partners. 

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. 

“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,” Randeep Sekhon, CTO – Bharti Airtel, 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. Airtel is delivering their next-generation enhanced network with a breadth of Intel technology, including Intel Xeon Scalable processors and FlexRAN software to optimize RAN workloads with embedded intelligence, to scale their infrastructure and deliver on the promise of a connected India,” said Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president, Network Platforms Group.

The leading telecom players of the country are collaborating with the IT companies to ramp up their 5G game. 

Last month Bharti Airtel and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) 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. https://www.techcircle.in/2021/06/21/airtel-tatas-partner-to-roll-out-5g-networking-solutions

Around the same time, Vodafone Idea (VIL) too announced a collaboration with networking giant Cisco to simplify and automate its network to support 4G and, in the future, 5G use cases by deploying the latter’s Ultra Packet Core across India. https://www.techcircle.in/2021/06/24/vi-and-cisco-partner-to-improve-4g-5g-user-experience