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Airtel and Qualcomm’s partnership will enable an array of use cases, including 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) that is designed to deliver broadband connectivity at gigabit speeds to homes and businesses, the telco said on Tuesday. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (AFP)
Airtel and Qualcomm’s partnership will enable an array of use cases, including 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) that is designed to deliver broadband connectivity at gigabit speeds to homes and businesses, the telco said on Tuesday. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (AFP)

Airtel, Qualcomm to partner for 5G in India

  • In October, Jio Platforms Ltd and Qualcomm had announced their partnership to develop 5G solutions that will fast track the launch of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India.

Bharti Airtel Ltd and US-based Qualcomm Technologies, Inc have partnered to use the latter’s 5G platforms that will enable rolling out networks and provide such services in India, the telecom major said in an exchange filing on Tuesday.

Airtel recently announced that it is the country’s first operator to conduct live 5G demonstration, calling its network ready for the next-generation wireless service. It beat rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which is yet to hold trials on a commercial network.

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“Through Airtel’s network vendors and device partners, it will utilise the Qualcomm 5G Ran (radio access network) platforms to roll out virtualised and open Ran-based 5G networks," Airtel said, adding that it is working with Qualcomm to explore and implement the technology in India.

The flexible and scalable architecture of O-Ran will create opportunities for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to become “viable players" to deploy 5G networks, Airtel said.

With this announcement, Qualcomm has now collaborated with the two largest telecom operators in India for 5G.

In October, Jio Platforms Ltd, the digital services subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), and Qualcomm had announced their partnership to develop 5G solutions that will fast track the launch of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India.

Qualcomm is enabling Jio Platforms to build a home-grown 5G solution that, RIL chair Mukesh Ambani said, will be rolled out in the second half of 2021.

Airtel and Qualcomm’s partnership will enable an array of use cases, including 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) that is designed to deliver broadband connectivity at gigabit speeds to homes and businesses, the telco said on Tuesday.

This collaboration also aims of a faster rollout of broadband services in a cost-effective manner across India amid challenges of remote working.

“Airtel has been a pioneer of new technologies and our networks are fully ready for 5G. We are delighted to have Qualcomm as a key technology provider in our journey to roll out world-class 5G in India," said Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Bharti Airtel.

This collaboration is expected to play a critical role in Airtel’s plans of 5G network coverage and capacity, said Rajen Vagadia, VP and president, Qualcomm-India and Saarc.

Qualcomm’s 5G FWA platform virtually supports any combination of 5G spectrum bands and modes, from extended-range high power sub-six to extended-range millimetre or mmWave. It aims to deliver a technology for virtualised, flexible and interoperable 5G infrastructure.

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