Bharti Airtel partners with Qualcomm in bid to boost 5G in India
The country's 5G ambitions have been held back by delays in the auction of airwaves that support the technology
Bharti Airtel will partner with US chipmaker Qualcomm to boost 5G services in India.
The partnership comes as telecoms firms ramp up their offerings to meet latest generational wireless demands.
Airtel will use Qualcomm’s Radio Access Network platforms, which run services on the cloud, to roll out 5G networks in the world’s second-largest wireless market.
“This collaboration ... aims to allow a faster rollout of broadband services ... across India for 'last mile' connectivity challenges that are becoming increasingly important in today’s remote, mobile-first society,” Airtel said.
Although the need for high-speed internet has increased during the pandemic as more people work from home, India’s 5G ambitions have been slowed by delays in the auction of airwaves that support the technology.
Concerns have also been raised by telecoms around the relatively high pricing of spectrum in India.
While India is set to auction some airwaves in March, bands that support 5G will only be auctioned sometime in the next six months, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology said.
The technology promises internet speeds up to 20 times faster than current networks.
Competitor Jio has previously said it built an in-house 5G solution and is ready to launch services as soon as airwaves are made available.
Its parent company Reliance last year raised about $97m from Qualcomm for its digital unit that houses Jio.
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