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4G/3G/WiFi

India's Airtel launches initiative to test 5G enterprise uses

India's second-largest service provider, Bharti Airtel, has introduced a 5G-for-business initiative to trial 5G-based enterprise use cases.

As part of this initiative, it has collaborated with leading technology firms including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Google Cloud.

The company will be working with several leading brands such as Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart and leading manufacturers to trial 5G-based offerings.

Office politics: The global pandemic has forced India's businesses to embrace digital transformation – and Airtel is ready to cash in.   (Source: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr CC2.0)
Office politics: The global pandemic has forced India's businesses to embrace digital transformation – and Airtel is ready to cash in.
(Source: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr CC2.0)

Airtel will test different use cases both at the end-user location and at its 5G lab at Network Experience Center at Manesar, near Delhi.

"These solutions will be deployed on 5G test spectrum allotted to Airtel and include use cases like Smart Factory, Smart Healthcare, 5G powered Quality inspection, Digital Twin, connected frontline workforce and AR/VR based use cases amongst others," says the press release issued by the company.

New business

Airtel, like other service providers, is focusing on the enterprise sector. The company's data center arm, Nxtra, recently announced an investment of INR50 billion (US$0.67 billion) to triple data center capacity by 2025.

Indian enterprises are in the midst of digital transformation, partly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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This has led to a lot of interest in 5G-led use cases. Telcos, like Airtel, would like to capture a maximum share of this market because of the low churn rate and higher average revenue per user (ARPU). Added to this, there is a lack of a "killer" use case in the retail segment. Airtel's 5G for Business reflects these factors.

The testing of 5G-based use cases might be one of the reasons why telcos have requested an extension of 5G trials until 2021.

The Department of Telecom gave spectrum to telcos earlier this year for six months to test 5G technology and its use cases. This period is coming to an end later this month.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor special to Light Reading

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