Due to the fact that the technology is still developing and cost reduction would take time, Bharti Airtel stated that OpenRAN will be prepared to be a part of its live 5G network by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. According to a senior executive, the telco already has contracts with various partners for OpenRAN-related services.
The telco’s initial phase of 5G network deployment relies primarily on existing equipment vendors’ technology, which is thought to be more developed and mature and capable of supporting a large-scale network.
The telco hose to partner with Samsung and Ericsson from Korea over Huawei and ZTE from China in its 5G network contract awards. Airtel recently began offering its non-standalone 5G service in eight cities. The company plans to expand the 5G network to include all top-tier cities by the end of this year and the top 50–60 cities by the end of 2023. By March 2024, it hopes to have the entire nation covered.
The chips that will provide its customers with cheaper costs, lower power requirements, and smaller form factors are often supplied by chip manufacturers. These manufacturers have already begun shopping for these chips, and it will be the second part of next year before they enter production. The software’s maturity is the next factor, teleco officials added.
They also stated that in Punjab trials, it had live [OpenRAN] sites. And the outcomes startled them in a good way. It was fairly impressive. Additionally, they now have other versions running in thurrManesar labs and stated that their customers should start to see OpeRAN volumes increase by the second half of the next year.
To create a complete 5G stack built on open technologies, Airtel is collaborating with numerous technological partners, including businesses from India, the US, Taiwan, and Japan.