Airtel to pilot 5G services during IPL matches

Airtel to pilot 5G services during IPL matches

In a bid to launch 5G data services by the end of this year, the country's largest telecom services provider, Airtel, is piloting its 5G capabilities pan-India starting with Indian Premier League (IPL) matches from Saturday.

The company has already started testing 5G in Bengaluru and it recently tested the same at Mobile World Congress (MWC), Barcelona. "We are quite encouraged with the success of our trial runs. So we are planning to experiment it across the country," Airtel sources told DH.

As part of the trial run during IPL, Massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) Wi-Fi devices will be set up across the stadium spanning 10 cities.

People who come to watch IPL, can get enhanced Internet service. At Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy Stadium, it is expected to accommodate 25,000 users at any point of time, providing an average speed of 60 Mbps, which is four times that of the current 4G speed of Airtel.

"We believe this will enhance the digital experience for our customers and enable them to share, post and stream content seamlessly even in locations with massive crowds," Shyam Mardikar, CTO Mobile, Bharti Airtel said.

Airtel, as per the sources, is set to roll out 5G services, starting from Bengaluru by this year end.

With this, India would become the first country globally to use Massive MIMO Technology for 5G data. Though the technology is already live commercially in China and Japan on the 4G network, India will experience it on the 5G network.

Airtel had joined hands with SK Telecom of South Korea to evolve standards for 5G.

The deployment is part of Airtel's ongoing network transformation programme, Project Leap, in which it is investing Rs 60,000 crore, officials said.

Airtel has a user-base of about 38 crore customers. State-owned telecom firm BSNL has plans to start a field trial of 5G services by the end of this financial year. But one of its board members, on condition of anonymity said, that 5G venture is not feasible option for the company at present.

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