Airtel getting partners on board to enable 5G use cases: Randeep Sekhon, CTO

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is getting new partners to enable 5G use cases for various consumers and enterprises in the country. It is also readying to start a campaign to educate users about their next 5G smartphone to ensure they can get the best experience. A handset to support all possibilities of 5G is very important, Bharti Airtel’s chief…

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is getting new partners to enable 5G use cases for various consumers and enterprises in the country. It is also readying to start a campaign to educate users about their next 5G smartphone to ensure they can get the best experience.

A handset to support all possibilities of 5G is very important, Bharti Airtel’s chief technology officer Randeep Sekhon told ET.

Airtel will come out with a campaign for users who want to buy 5G handsets informing them about various checks of their particular handsets to make sure the handset works well in India across not just 5G but various other bands and carrier aggregation. “This is important when you choose a 5G handset to get the best experience,” he said.

The telecom operator had recently urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to bring uniform guidelines to develop the 5G smartphone ecosystem. It recommended that any new 5G handset sold in India must support all existing bands in the country for 5G, including the millimetre wave (26-28 GHz) bands.

Airtel said that it successfully conducted a cloud gaming session on its 5G trial network in Manesar using the 3.5GHz spectrum band. Sekhon said “immersive entertainment” will be another major consumer use case of 5G. “But, for A/R and V/R, content needs to be created and be personalised at the edge. We are seeing how we can make it real,” he said.

Bharti Airtel is currently using the 3.5 GHz spectrum band for 5G trials in Delhi-National Capital Region and Mumbai. Sekhon said the telco hasn’t started 5G trials using millimetre wave bands. “As and when we will get equipment, we will try that too. 3.5 GHz anchored with traditional 4G bands are currently being used for trials,” he said. “For the B2B, industry 4.0, high speed, high latency and mass concurrency around IoT cloud and 5G are required… We are working with many of our industry customers on creating infra, FMCG, factory, mining. This will be relevant.”

Sekhon said telecom operators can’t do everything by themselves and that their main focus is to build the best infrastructure to enable partners. Bharti Airtel will have various partners to enable 5G use cases such as education, e health and for industries, he said.

“Some partnerships are for initial 5G trials and some will be for massifying the roll-out. The 5G real experience will happen when all stakeholders, ecosystem partners are available,” said Sekhon.

Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had said 5G would start becoming a reality in India by the second half of the next year, starting with major cities.

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