In what is claimed to be a major landmark, Bharti Airtel (generally referred to as Airtel) said that it has become the country’s first telco to successfully demonstrate & orchestrate live 5G service over a commercial network.
This, the company said, was achieved in the Indian city of Hyderabad, where its users in 'Tech City' (a hub for software & tech companies) were able to download a full length movie in a matter of seconds on a 5G phone.
This development makes Airtel one up on Reliance Jio which is the one that had been making all the loud noises on 5G services in India. Airtel's heist, in a manner of speaking, is likely to tickle its competitors into a flurry of retaliatory action in the market.
Airtel has said that its demonstration has emphatically validated the 5G readiness of its network across all domains – Radio, Core and Transport.
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Airtel proves a point
For the past 25 years Airtel has led India’s digital transformation & today we are proud to become the first telecom company in India to successfully demonstrate LIVE #5G services over a commercial network in the city of Hyderabad. #Airtel5GReady pic.twitter.com/Vx7rSAXNtyJanuary 28, 2021
Airtel, which was for long India's number one telecom player before Jio arrived and queered the pitch for it, pulled off its technological coup on its existing 'liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology.'
It said it used 'a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing', and seamlessly operated 5G and 4G concurrently within the same spectrum block.
The company said its 5G is capable of delivering 10x speeds, 10x latency and 100x concurrency when compared to existing technologies.
"The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to our customers, when adequate spectrum is available and government approvals received," Airtel said.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel was quoted as saying: “Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere.”
Focus on Indian govt and 5G spectrum auction
As it happens, the Indian government is still talking to the vendors and partners to host 5G trials in the country. Only after the successfully completed trials and 5G spectrum sales that again is subject to the government and telecoms arriving at an agreement around the spectrum price, India can expect a successful 5G rollout.
Gopal Vittal also said that India has the potential to become a global hub for 5G innovation. "To make that happen we need the eco system to come together – applications, devices and network innovation. We are more than ready to do our bit.”
These are indeed loaded words, and can be construed to be fired at the competition that is just Reliance Jio, which recently claimed that it has begun advance tests to prepare the fifth-generation, high-speed network.