Airtel to partner local, global firms to make India 5G tech development hub

Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), India’s premier communications solutions provider, today announced a collaboration with Intel for 5G network development by leveraging vRAN / O-RAN technologies.

The collaboration is part of Airtel’s 5G roadmap for India as it transforms its networks to allow its 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. Airtel is the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G over a LIVE network and is conducting 5G trials in major cities.

Mittal said the company possessed the ability to develop world-class platforms and digital solutions on the back of its in-house engineering talent and strong partnerships with global majors including Amazon, Google, Verizon, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Intel, IBM, Cisco and Apollo Hospitals.

“Unsustainable pricing and low returns in a highly capital-intensive environment, coupled with legacy legal issues, have extracted their toll,” Mittal said in the company’s annual report which was sent to the stock exchanges Tuesday.

A “3+1” industry structure refers to the three private and one public sector telco currently operating in India. Mittal, whose remuneration for 2020-21 almost halved to Rs 16. 1 crore from over Rs30 crore last year, backed Aditya Birla Group (ABG) chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla’s request to the government to raise tariffs in the sector. ABG is a co-parent of loss-making Vodafone India, along with UK’s Vodafone Group Plc.

The Airtel chairman said as telecom’s role in the economy grows to become more pervasive, challenges ‘loom larger’.

“The industry requires long overdue support to maintain its current 3+1 industry structure and allow players to earn a respectable return on their investments. I am hopeful that the Government and the Regulators will step in to ensure there is adequate balance in the industry and it remains a viable place for continued investments,” Mittal said.

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