Bharti Airtel, the second largest telecom operator in India by volume of mobile users, and Intel, one of the world’s most prominent chipmakers, have announced a partnership that will see the two companies collaborate on developing key network infrastructure for next generation 5G connectivity in India. According to the announcement made earlier today, the companies will collaborate to build 4G and 5G vRAN (virtualised radio access network) and open RAN (open radio access network) infrastructure together. The move will help Airtel build scalable 5G technologies that can be deployed in circles as per requirements.
Dan Rodriguez, corporate VP of Intel’s network platforms group, made the announcement earlier today, saying, “Airtel is delivering their next-generation enhanced network with a breadth of Intel technology, including Intel Xeon Scalable processors and FlexRAN software to optimise RAN workloads with embedded intelligence, to scale their infrastructure and deliver on the promise of a connected India.” The partnership will involve Intel providing Airtel with a significant technology stack in order to meet their impending development requirements.
Bharti Airtel, through this partnership, will use Intel’s Xeon scalable processors, as well as specialised telecom equipment such as the Ethernet 800 Series network interface controllers, FPGAs (circuit boards custom configured for the task), eASICs (custom chips for specialised network deployments) and more. Intel claims in its release that its technology will help Airtel get a “foundation for wide-scale enhanced mobile broadband, mobile edge computing and network slicing,” which in turn will seemingly allow the operator to optimise its long term costs for establishing and maintaining 5G network infrastructure.
The two companies have also jointly announced that they will “work closely” to build indigenous network solutions that will be specifically catered to the consumer requirements of India, which they further claim will “enable world-class telecom infrastructure in India through local partners.” The announcement comes after Intel partnered with Reliance Jio to provide open RAN services to establish its indigenously developed 5G infrastructure in the country.
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