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India’s first Open RAN 5G NSA passes its initiation with Airtel and Mavenir

Speeds exceed 1Gbps in 5G NSA mode

By Nick Booth

5 April 2022

This is a major milestone for the Open RAN ecosystem in India and yet another validation of the growing readiness of 5G networks based on open architecture, according to Randeep Sekhon, CTO at Bharti Airtel. This is a major milestone for the Open RAN ecosystem in India.

Speeds exceed 1Gbps in 5G NSA mode

Indian telco Airtel has performed the nation’s first Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) 5G network validation along with network software specialist and compatriot Mavenir. This initiation ceremony with India’s leaders in their respective fields shows that the technology has reached maturity, according to Airtel.

The Open RAN based 5G validation was conducted in Chandigarh and Mohali, over the 3500 MHz band test spectrum allotted to Airtel by the Indian government’s department of telecom. Speeds of over 1 Gbps were validated with the equipment used and configured in non-standalone (NSA) mode, using commercially available 5G mobile devices.

The Mavenir Open Virtualised Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) system is built with off-the-shelf hardware and 3500MHz radio using open interfaces defined by the O-RAN Alliance. Liberated from vendor lock-in, Airtel claimed its new freedom gave it license to virtualise. The new found flexibility opened its eyes to new possibilities and soon it embraced the concept of web-scale containerisation to support the notion that ‘any cloud’ is possible.

Randeep Sekhon, CTO at Bharti Airtel, explained why this is so crucial to a tech powerhouse such as India. “This is a major milestone for the Open RAN ecosystem in India and yet another validation of the growing readiness of 5G networks based on open architecture,” said Sekhon, “We look forward to deepening our technology partnership with Mavenir and collaborate to expedite the use of these radio access networks.”

Airtel has been a board member since the beginning of O-RAN Alliance, which now assembles a world-wide community of more than 300 telecom operators, vendors and research and academic institutions working openly to develop a sustainable Open RAN ecosystem. It was the first operator in India to commercially run an open virtual RAN solution based on disaggregated and open architecture defined by the O-RAN Alliance. 

“We are excited to partner with Airtel on the 5G Open RAN journey, it has given impetus towards a faster deployment of Open RAN,” said BG Kumar, Mavenir’s president of communication services, “Mavenir is committed to the India market with its continued investments towards development of cutting-edge technologies at research and development centres across India.”

Source: India’s first Open RAN 5G NSA passes its initiation with Airtel and Mavenir – Mobile Europe

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