Gopal Vittal, Telecom News, ET Telecom | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel is leading the O-RAN initiative in the country by partnering with the “best companies” such as Intel, Qualcomm, Mavenir, Altiostar and Red Hat, chief executive Gopal Vittal said on Wednesday.

“We have built a network that’s fully ready for 5G. It’s a capability we have already demonstrated by conducting India’s first 5G demo over a LIVE network and are now conducting trials in multiple cities,” Vittal said during the Q1 earnings call.

Vittal said that the telecom operator has made substantial investments in its transport layer over the last few years to be ready to deploy 5G when needed.

“In addition, we are now part of a very critical make in India push having announced a strategic partnership with the Tata group,” he said.

Net profit for the quarter fell from Rs 759 crore in the January-March period, due to muted average revenue per user (ARPU) growth and a sharp slowdown in data subscriber adds during the Covid second wave. The telco had posted a loss of Rs 15,933 crore a year ago.

Bharti Airtel has tied up with the Tata Group to implement 5G networks solutions for India. From January 2022, Airtel will pilot and deploy the Tata Group’s locally developed solutions as part of the telecom operator’s 5G roll out plans for India.

The move will allow the telco to reduce the cost of 5G deployment as it uses locally developed OpenRAN (O-RAN) technology, analysts said.

Vittal added that Airtel’s “formidable” spectrum holdings particularly in the mid band can be deployed for 5G over time. “All of this is supported by India’s largest network of data centres and large global submarine capacities,” he added.

Indian telcos, vendors and chipmakers met the DoT Secretary last week for stakeholder consultation on the 5G ecosystem.

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