Airtel allys with Qualcomm for 5G Services in India

CIOReviewIndia Team | Tuesday, 23 February 2021, 08:48 IST

AirtelBharti Airtel said on Tuesday it will collaborate with US chipmaker Qualcomm to introduce 5G services in India.

The country's second-largest telecom operator said it will use Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms to roll out virtualised and open RAN-based 5G networks.

Airtel said in a press release that as a board member of the O-RAN Alliance, it execute to the implementation of O-RAN approach in the country. It said that O-RAN's flexible and scalable architecture will create “new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to become viable players in the deployment of 5G networks.”

The Airtel-Qualcomm alliance is also expected to allow a faster rollout of broadband services in a “cost effective and expeditious manner” across the country.

A recent TRAI report showed that Airtel added 4.05 million wireless subscribers in the month of December 2020, retaining its top spot when it comes to monthly subscribers.

Reliance Jio added only around 479,000 wireless subscribers. Airtel also beat Jio in terms of visitor location register or VLR subscribers — which is generally considered a good measure of active subscribers, as opposed to overall numbers that include dormant accounts.

Airtel has consistently added more subscribers than any other telco and as per the latest data by TRAI, the month of December 2020 was no different. It added 4.05 million wireless subscribers taking its total wireless subscriber base to 338.7 million as of December 31, 2020. Airtel's market share was 29.36 percent, which was a slight increase from 28.97 percent in the previous month. Jio was quite far behind with its 478,917 subscribers added in December. However, it still holds the maximum market share at 35.43 percent, a slight increase from its 35.34 percent in November 2020.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Vodafone Idea (Vi) lost subscribers with the former loosing 252,501 and the latter loosing over 5.69 million. BSNL holds a 10.29 percent market share while Vi holds a 24.64 percent market share as of December 31 2020. In the earlier month, Airtel added 4.3 million, Jio added 1.9 million, BSNL lost around 18,360 while Vi lost 2.8 million.

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