Bharti Airtel, popularly known as Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, on Wednesday announced a collaboration with Intel for 5G network development by leveraging vRAN / O-RAN technologies.

The collaboration is a part of the 5G roadmap of Airtel for the country as it transforms its networks to allow its valuable customers to reap the full possibilities of the hyperconnected world where Industry 4.0 to cloud gaming and virtual / augmented reality become an everyday experience.

Bharti Airtel is the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G over a live network and the telecom service provider is conducting 5G trials in major cities across India.

Bharti Airtel in a statement said the telecom service provider will deploy Intel’s latest 3rd gen Xeon® Scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, and Ethernet 800 series across its network in the country to build a solid foundation for rolling out wide-scale 5G, mobile edge computing and network slicing.

Airtel and Intel, as members of the O-RAN Alliance 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) will be an area of tremendous innovation and creativity in the coming years, Airtel said in a statement.

These O-RAN platforms, Airtel in the statement said, will leverage Intel FlexRAN, a reference architecture with both software and hardware components, and enable software-based radio base stations that can run-on general-purpose servers located at the network edge.

Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel said Airtel is delighted to have Intel as a part of its rapidly expanding partner ecosystem for 5G.

Sekhon also said that 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,” the Bharti Airtel CTO further said.

Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president of Network Platforms Group, 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.”

The Intel corporate vice president of Network Platforms Group further said 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.

India’s active internet user base is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025.

It is expected that the advent of 5G will further deepen digital adoption through a range of industrial and customer use cases.

According to a media report, with the government allotting 5G spectrum to telecom operators for conducting trials, Bharti Airtel has written to the department of telecommunications (DoT) to bring about guidelines stipulating that any new 5G handset launched or sold in India must have the necessary features to support all existing bands in India for 5G.

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