New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s second largest telecom service provider after Reliance Jio, on Tuesday announced that it has tied up with US-based chipmaker Qualcomm to provide 5G services to millions of internet users in the country. Airtel has marked its entry into the 5G network market to compete against billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio in the latest generation of wireless internet services. Also Read - Personal Data of 26 Lakh Airtel Users From J&K Leaked, Being Sold in Bitcoin on The Web

Recently, Airtel became India’s first telecom firm to demonstrate 5G over a LIVE commercial network in the city of Hyderabad. Also Read - Internet Suspended For 2 Days at Delhi Borders Amid Farmers' Protest

In a statement to stock exchanges and device partners, Airtel said it will use the Qualcomm 5G RAN (Radio Access Network) platforms to roll-out virtualised and Open RAN-based 5G networks. Also Read - Internet Still Down: Jio, Airtel Users Across Delhi-NCR Still Face Mobile Data Suspension

“Airtel, as a board member of the O-RAN Alliance, is committed to driving the success of O-RAN and is working with Qualcomm Technologies to explore and implement the O-RAN approach for India,” Airtel said.

“This collaboration… aims to allow a faster rollout of broadband services… across India for “last mile” connectivity challenges that are becoming increasingly important in today’s remote, mobile-first society,” it stated.

The flexible and scalable architecture of O-RAN will create new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to become viable players in the deployment of 5G networks, it added.

Airtel 5G solutions including FWA services will be able to deliver multi-gigabit internet speeds wirelessly to customers and open up a wide range of innovations, the company said in its statement.

With the work-from-home culture gaining momentum in the pandemic-led year in India, the 5G network ambitions have taken a back seat due to delays in auctions of airwaves needed for the technology. Further, with Jio being the only platform leading in the high-speed internet technology, concerns have been rising regarding high pricing of the spectrum.

Notably, the 5G technology promises a high-speed internet service that is at least 20 times faster than the existing networks in India.