Intel and Bharti Airtel have announced a collaboration to advance the network development of 4G and 5G technology for virtualized radio access networks (vRAN) and open radio access networks (RAN). The partnership aims to further develop Airtel’s communication networks from fixed-function devices to virtualized cloud-native deployments and to enable edge-to-cloud communication to power our hyper-connected world. It is part of Airtel’s 5G roadmap for India.
Airtel’s network is powered by a number of Intel technologies: the latest Xeon scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, the Ethernet 800 series and the FlexRAN reference architecture. It will help the service provider transform its network to meet the growing demands of its 345 million plus subscribers with flexible, software-defined infrastructure and to respond to their varying demands for bandwidth and latency. It will help Airtel to offer consumers new services and at the same time program its network in such a way that it leads to long-term cost optimization.
Bharti Airtel and other telecom operators are currently running 5G tests in select cities across India.
As members of the O-RAN alliance, the two companies will work closely together to develop a range of “Make in India” 5G solutions and enable “world-class” telecommunications infrastructure in India through local partners, Intel said in a statement. Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) platforms will use Intel’s reference architecture with both software and hardware components for telecommunications networks and enable software-based radio base stations that can run on universal servers connected to the network.
“Digitally powering India’s dynamic population of connected users requires scalable and agile networks that can adapt to the growing needs of their users. Airtel delivers their expanded next generation network with a wide range of Intel technology, including Intel Xeon Scalable Processors and FlexRAN software to optimize RAN workloads with embedded intelligence, scale your infrastructure … “said Dan Rodriguez, Intel Corporate Vice President, Network Platforms Group.
“Airtel is excited to have Intel as part of its fast-growing partner ecosystem for 5G,” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO of Bharti Airtel.
Led by affordable smartphones and the world’s lowest data plans, India has the second largest internet population in the world at over 620 million. The country’s active internet user base is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025. The advent of 5G will further deepen digital adoption through a number of industrial and customer use cases.
Intel has also partnered with Airtel’s competitor Reliance Jio to work on 5G technology.