Airtel, Tata Join Hands For 5G Rollout In India, To Compete With Reliance Jio

India’s second-largest telecom provider has teamed up with one of its largest conglomerates to take on Reliance Jio in what could soon become the telecom technology of the future.

Airtel and the Tata group have announced a strategic partnership to roll out 5G services in India. As per the partnership, Bharti Airtel will pilot and deploy Tata’s technology as part of its 5G rollout plans. Airtel will start the pilot in April 2022.

“We are delighted to join forces with the Tata Group to make India a global hub for 5G and allied technologies,” said Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal. “With its world-class technology ecosystem and talent pool, India is well positioned to build cutting edge solutions and applications for the world. This will also provide a massive boost to India becoming an innovation and manufacturing destination,” he added.

“Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brings its global system integration expertise and to align the end-to-end solution to both 3GPP and O-RAN standards, as the network and equipment are increasingly embedded into software,” Airtel added. It said that its ‘Made in India’ 5G product and solutions were aligned to global standards, and would interoperate with other products based on standard open interfaces and those defined by the O-RAN Alliance.

“As a Group, we are excited about the opportunity presented by 5G and adjacent possibilities,” the Tata Group said. “We are committed to building a world-class networking equipment and solutions business to address these opportunities in networking space,” said N. Ganapathy Subramaniam from TCS.

Airtel’s announcement comes just a day before Reliance’s Annual General Meet, in which the company is expected to share progress on its own 5G implementation. Reliance has been in advanced tests of 5G technology in India since January this year. The company is also expected to announce a cheap 5G phone tomorrow.

But with now Airtel and Tata teaming up to offer their own 5G solution, Reliance Jio will have to deal with a formidable rival as it looks to launch 5G services across the country. While this means increasing competition for Jio, it will also bring cheer to millions of Indian consumers — with more firms in the fray, its likely that India will get 5G services for quicker and cheaper than initially anticipated.