Bharti Airtel and Tata Group announced a strategic partnership for implementing 5G network solutions for India. Tata Group has developed “O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) based Radio and NSA/SA (Non-Standalone/standalone) Core and has integrated a totally indigenous telecom stack, leveraging the Group capabilities and that of its partners”, according to a joint statement. This will be available for commercial development starting January 2022.

What

  1. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brings its global system integration expertise and helps align the end-to-end solution to both 3GPP and O-RAN standards, as the network and equipment are increasingly embedded into software.
  2. Airtel will pilot and deploy the indigenous solution as part of its 5G rollout plans in India and begin the pilot in January 2022, as per the norms formulated by the government.
  3. These ‘Made in India’ 5G products and solutions are aligned to global standards, and inter-operate with other products based on standard open interfaces and those defined by the O-RAN Alliance.
  4. The 5G solutions, once commercially proven in Airtel’s diverse and brownfield network will open export opportunities for India, which is now the second-largest telecom market globally.
  5. Open RAN or open radio access network architecture is industry terminology for interoperability and standardisation of radio access network elements including products and software from various vendors.

Flashback

  1. 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks. 5G mainly works in 3 bands namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
  2. While the low band spectrum has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
  3. The mid-band spectrum, on the other hand, offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
  4. The high-band spectrum offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength.
  5. Internet speeds in the high-band spectrum of 5G has been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), while, in most cases, the maximum internet data speed in 4G has been recorded at 1 Gbps.