Airtel and Qualcomm to collaborate for faster 5G launch in India

Airtel recently became the first telco in India to demonstrate 5G over a live commercial network in Hyderabad.

  • Airtel has announced that it is working with Qualcomm to deploy its 5G network in India
  • Airtel will use Qualcomm’s 5G O-RAN and FWA technologies to reach a wider audience
  • Airtel is working on deploying both sub-6GHz and mmWave networks on its infrastructure

Some time ago, Airtel successfully conducted some 5G field trials and announced that it would roll out 5G services in India in select cities by June 2021. Reliance Jio announced similar plans some time ago when it also stated that it was working with Qualcomm for its 5G rollout. Airtel has just announced it is also working closely with Qualcomm to accelerate 5G launch in India.

Airtel will utilize Qualcomm’s 5G RAN Platforms to roll-out virtualized and Open RAN-based 5G networks. Airtel says that it is committed to driving the success of O-RAN and is working with Qualcomm to explore and implement the O-RAN approach for India. This creates new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to become viable players in the deployment of 5G networks, according to Airtel. 

Also read: 5G trials in India could start in the next 2-3 months: report

Airtel will also use 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology that can deliver broadband connectivity at Gigabit speeds to homes and businesses. It is essential for “the last mile” connectivity challenges, which have, in the past, impeded progress on several occasions. Qualcomm‘s 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platform supports virtually any combination of 5G spectrum bands and modes, from extended-range high power sub-6 to extended-range mmWave. The former is better suited to cover large areas while the latter is ideal for densely-populated urban areas which require high-speed connectivity. 

Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel, chimed in with the following statement about the endeavour, “Airtel has been a pioneer of new technologies and our networks are fully ready for 5G. We are delighted to have Qualcomm Technologies as a key technology provider in our journey to roll-out world-class 5G in India. With Airtel’s integrated service portfolio and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G leadership, we will be well placed to usher India into the next era of hyper-fast and ultra-low latency digital connectivity.”