PLI Scheme, OpenRAN will help India's telecom vendor ecosystem grow, says Airtel

Fifth-generation (5G) services in India will be first available to retail consumers who are looking to get better speeds for cloud gaming and entertainment, but the education and healthcare sectors should look at developing use cases leveraging the high-speed technology as well, a top Bharti Airtel executive said.

“…enterprise customers can have private networks and can also have edge to support their secure enterprise 4.0 use cases…there will be common threads of automation, there will be common threads of cloud and there will be common threads of 5G use cases of lower latencies and higher speeds and mass contingencies,” CTO Randeep Sekhon said.

There will be 5G use cases which will be developed in India by local companies who can ship these use cases to global markets, he said. The government is expected to notify 5G trials shortly.

“…5G is a reset to the world where new kinds of use cases will emerge. And these new use cases will then probably become more prevalent around the world. So, why not Indian companies come back and innovate use cases which can be used by enterprises and retailers, retail customers across the world,” Sekhon asked.

He added that in the backdrop of the evolving technology, India’s local telecom vendor ecosystem will grow with the help of the OpenRAN technology and the recently introduced production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which will allow new players to enter the market and innovate further. “…it (OpenRAN) has a very bright future, because it will invoke not just innovation on the supplier ecosystem front, but since the world has shrunk to a couple of suppliers, we will need to open up this ecosystem for more innovation,” Sekhon said.

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OpenRAN as a concept enables hardware and software to be disaggregated, unlike conventional radio systems, allowing technology products from different suppliers to co-exist with the various software providers. Indian telcos are eyeing OpenRAN as a viable method to cut network-related costs and bring in more customisations as they upgrade their networks to 5G technology



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