Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have announced the successful testing of Ericsson’s pre-commercial reduced capability (RedCap) software on the Airtel 5G network. Carried out in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. using its 5G RedCap test module, the testing on 5G time division duplexing (TDD) network represents the first implementation and validation of RedCap in India.

Ericsson RedCap is a new radio access network (RAN) software solution that creates new 5G use cases and enables more 5G connections from devices such as smartwatches, other wearables, and industrial sensors and augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) devices.

Commenting on the testing, Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Airtel says, “At Airtel, we are constantly pushing the boundaries on technological innovations to find ways to enhance customer experience. The successful testing of RedCap technology on our network will enable futuristic internet of things (IoT) broadband adoption for devices including wearables and industrial sensors in a way that is both cost and energy-efficient. We believe with RedCap’s broader applicability, Airtel will further innovate various use cases such as new applications for consumers, industries and enterprises.”

Meanwhile, Sandeep Hingorani, head of network solutions for customer unit Bharti, Ericsson, said, “With our customers like Airtel continuously investing in network capabilities to seize the opportunities offered by 5G, the commercialisation of RedCap capabilities will enable them to grow their consumer business and enable new industry applications, all while improving network performance and energy efficiency.”

According to Ericsson, RedCap will open up a new world of possibilities for communications service providers, allowing for the introduction of services beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) on 5G standalone architecture, broadening the ecosystem and offering new monetisation opportunities in both the consumer and industrial spaces. RedCap can effectively scale down the complexity, size and capabilities of device platforms to offer cost-efficient integration into devices such as smartwatches and industrial sensors. This approach facilitates diverse use cases that may not always require the high-performance capabilities of current 5G technology.  Some consumer applications that can benefit from RedCap are wearables and AR/VR. Industrial applications include video monitoring and inventory management. For Airtel, RedCap can also improve operational efficiencies with optimised cost structures accelerating the industry 4.0 transformation with 5G private networks.