“The self-reliant vision of the country is key to the whole economy. Telcos’ role is very important,” Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Bharti Airtel, said at the ET Telecom Digital Telco Virtual Summit 2020.
Sekhon said the telecom operator’s two European partners – Ericsson and Nokia – will supply radio, core and transport equipment through their local factories in India. “They have promised to us that 5G also will be made here, which means in some way telcos are also contributing to the economy of the country by consuming something which is made here,” he said.
Bharti Airtel also works with Chinese gear vendors Huawei and ZTE in India for select circles. However, both Chinese vendors import their gear from other markets. Besides, Bharti Airtel has been reducing its dependence on Chinese vendors, especially Huawei. It has already replaced Huawei in Rajasthan circle with Ericsson gear and is now in the process of doing the same in Rest of Tamil Nadu circle.
Sekhon said the telco is already deploying 5G-ready technology in its wireless and backhaul networks. On 5G, he said huge investments will be required in terms of capex, including radio, core and transport.
Airtel is making a lot of efforts in “core and transport domains” to bring automation in time before 5G technology becomes a commercial reality in India, said Sekhon.
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