Airtel and TCS Announce Collaboration For ‘Made in India’ 5G Technology


Airtel will pilot and deploy TCS’ indigenous solution as part of its 5G rollout plans in India and start the pilot in January 2022

Telecom major Bharti Airtel and Tata Group have entered a strategic partnership for implementing 5G networks solutions for India. 

Tata Group has developed a ‘state of the art’ O-RAN based Radio & NSA/SA Core and has integrated a locally made telecom stack, leveraging the Group capabilities and that of its partners, the company said in a joint statement. 

This will be available for commercial development starting January 2022. Airtel will pilot and deploy this indigenous solution as part of its 5G rollout plans in India and start the pilot in January 2022, as per the guidelines formulated by the Government of India.

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.

These ‘Made in India’ 5G product and solutions are, as per the statement, aligned to global standards, and inter-operate with other products based on standard open interfaces and those defined by the O-RAN Alliance. 

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 in the world.    

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia) Bharti Airtel said, “We are delighted to join forces with the Tata Group to make India a global hub for 5G and allied technologies. With its world-class technology ecosystem and talent pool, India is well positioned to build cutting edge solutions and applications for the world. This will also provide a massive boost to India becoming an innovation and manufacturing destination.” 

“As a Group, we are excited about the opportunity presented by 5G and adjacent possibilities,” N. Ganapathy Subramaniam from the Tata Group/ TCS said. 

This comes after Jio has also developed its own end-to-end telecom stack comprising radios and core technologies, which it is currently piloting in Mumbai and intends to commercially deploy once 5G spectrum is available commercially. 

It is reported that this partnership would provide Airtel with an upper hand over rival Jio in the global market as Airtel already either has its own networks or holds a stake in telecom ventures across many geographies including Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.  

Airtel is a Board member of the O-RAN Alliance and is committed to explore and implement O-RAN based networks in India. The Company has started 5G trials in major cities using spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom.


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