Bharti Airtel has conducted India’s first open radio access network (O-RAN) based live 5G network validation in partnership with Mavenir.
The O-RAN based 5G validation has been conducted in Chandigarh and Mohali, over the 3500 MHz band test spectrum allotted to Airtel by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), government of India. Speeds of over 1 Gbps were validated with the equipment deployed and configured in non-standalone (NSA) mode and using commercially available 5G mobile devices.
The Mavenir open virtualised radio access network (Open vRAN) solution is based on commercial off-the-shelf hardware, and 3500MHz radio employing open interfaces as defined by O-RAN alliance. Open vRAN brings network elasticity, eliminates vendor lock-in and enables Airtel to leverage virtualisation, and web-scale containerisation to support an ‘any cloud’ deployment scenario.
Commenting on the development, Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Airtel, said, “This is a major milestone for the O-RAN ecosystem in India, and yet another validation of the growing readiness of 5G networks based on open architecture. Airtel is delighted to spearhead the innovation efforts of O-RAN alliance in India. We look forward to deepening our technology partnership with Mavenir and collaborate to accelerate the deployment of these radio access networks.”
Meanwhile, BG Kumar, president, Communication Services, Mavenir, said, “We are excited to partner with Airtel on 5G O-RAN journey. This partnership with Airtel has given impetus to O-RAN ecosystem towards faster deployment of O-RAN. Mavenir is committed to the India market with its continued investments towards development of cutting-edge technologies at research and development (R&D) centres across India.”
Airtel has been a board member since the beginning of O-RAN alliance, which now associates a world-wide community of more than 300 telecom operators, vendors and research and academic institutions working in a transparent way to develop a sustainable O-RAN ecosystem. Airtel was the first operator in India to commercially deploy an open virtual RAN solution based on disaggregated and open architecture defined by the O-RAN alliance. It is committed to furthering O-RAN solutions by supporting a number of disruptive and innovative partners, helping them develop solutions capable of addressing the scale and complexity of its network and that of other established operators around the world.