Airtel picks IBM, Red Hat to build 5G-ready cloud network

Bharti Airtel has selected IBM and Red Hat to build its new 5G-ready telco network cloud to support core operations, monetise the telco's pan-India 4G network with the help of new services and be more competitive against main rival Reliance Jio In...

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel has selected IBM and Red Hat to build its new 5G-ready telco network cloud to support core operations, monetise the telco's pan-India 4G network with the help of new services and be more competitive against main rival Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Both IBM and Red Hat will help Airtel build its next-generation core network, analytical tools and new consumer and enterprise services on top of this cloud platform based on open standards, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday. The companies did not share any financial details. “Our goal with this powerful, seamless horizontal approach is to make our network future ready and enable Airtel to efficiently serve the massive surge in data consumption,” Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer at Bharti Airtel, said in the statement.

IBM and Red Hat already have a similar partnership with Vodafone Idea. The companies have enabled Vodafone Idea’s IT and network applications to run on a common cloud architecture. “The creation of this cloud network will help Airtel create new services and capabilities and will also enable it to monetise their 4G much faster besides preparing for 5G,” Sandip Patel, general manager-IBM India/South Asia, told ET. “A lot of this will also help Airtel to be more competitive with reduced capex and opex.” Patel said that the pandemic has propelled the need for telcos to rethink their networks in India even as the world goes digital. “This deal will help Airtel transform itself into a digital service provider from a communications service provider.”

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