Bharti Airtel, the second-largest telecom operator, has partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a major IT firm and both the companies are working on building a 5G based remote working technology using robotics. According to a release, the companies have tested two 5G use cases together on a 5G test bed created by Bharti Airtel. These use cases include remote manufacturing operations using robotics and vision-based quality inspection. This partnership with TCS would enable Bharti Airtel in coming out with indigenous 5G products and services.
Airtel, TCS Solutions to Help Manufacturers
The solutions developed by Airtel and TCS will help manufacturers in building smart factories which mimic adaptive and resilient behaviours.
Bharti Airtel and TCS are interested in deploying the robotics solutions developed together once 5G is rolled out commercially in India. Both the companies had already joined hands together in June for developing 5G network solutions for India. This partnership was Airtel’s move to compete with Jio in developing indigenous 5G solutions and products.
Bharti Airtel will pilot and deploy the indigenously developed telecom stack by TCS for 5G. The telecom stack developed by the Tata Group is made with O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network)-based radio and core elements.
Airtel had announced that it would start deploying the O-RAN telecom stack developed by TCS from January 2022. That seems unlikely as of now since the government is taking its sweet time with the spectrum auctions. Bharti Airtel has been very supportive of the O-RAN technology as it is very cost-efficient.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is currently working on the fresh base pricing for the spectrum bands that will be included in the upcoming spectrum auctions. The spectrum auctions are likely to take place in April to June 2022 period. Even the telecom operators are expected to finish the 5G trials by the summer of 2022.
There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to the 5G launch in India, as a lot of policy decisions around the network technology are pending.