Airtel and Qualcomm join forces for 5G rollout in India

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Indian telecom network provider Bharti Airtel today announced that is joining hands with Qualcomm “for accelerating 5G in India.” The news comes less than a month after Airtel became the country’s first telco to demonstrate 5G over a live commercial network in Hyderabad.

Airtel will be utilizing Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms to roll out virtualized and Open RAN-based 5G networks in the country. Additionally, Airtel will be collaborating with Qualcomm to enable other use cases such as 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to provide broadband connectivity at Gigabit speeds to homes and businesses.

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Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement:

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.

Airtel isn’t the first Indian telco to partner with Qualcomm for 5G. Reliance Jio, which is India’s largest carrier, announced a similar partnership with Qualcomm in October last year. Reliance Jio already has an in-house 5G solution and is likely to roll out its services sometime later this year. Airtel has also expressed confidence that it will be able to roll out 5G services “immediately” after it receives adequate spectrum. Bidding for 5G spectrum in India is set to begin from March 1.

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