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Airtel conducts industry’s first rural 5G trial in partnership with Ericsson

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have conducted India’s first 5G network demonstration in a rural geography.

The demonstration took place in Bhaipur Bramanan village on the outskirts of Delhi/NCR using 5G trial spectrum allocated to Airtel by the Department of Telecom.

The trial showcases the massive potential offered by 5G towards bridging the digital divide by enabling access to high speed broadband through solutions such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services.

The highlight of the trial was the demonstration of over 200 Mbps throughput on 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA device at distance of over 10 Km from the site. This translated into an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 kms, thus offering the ability to provide high-speed broadband coverage even in the remotest of geographies. As part of the trial, even a commercially available 3GPP-based 5G smartphone was able to connect to the 5G test network and record 100+ Mbps speeds at a distance of over 10 Km from the site.

The 5G site infrastructure was powered by Ericsson’s 3GPP-compliant 5G radio. The trial was carried out by utilizing the allocated mid-band trial spectrum in 3500MHz band and existing FDD spectrum band. The results of trial demonstrate Airtel’s capability to enable 5G for both capacity and coverage over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure.

Randeep Singh Sekhon, Airtel CTO says, “Having demonstrated India’s first 5G network and also the first 5G cloud gaming experience, Airtel is proud to have also conducted the nation’s first 5G trial in a rural geography. 5G will be a transformational technology when it comes to delivering broadband coverage to the last mile through use cases like FWA and contribute to a more inclusive digital economy. Airtel will continue to be at the forefront of 5G technology and bring more India relevant use cases through partnerships such as the one with Ericsson.”

Nunzio Mirtillo, Head of Ericsson South east Asia, Oceania and India says, “The technology milestone of extended coverage achieved by Ericsson and Airtel as part of the ongoing 5G trial in India is even more significant since it demonstrates how 5G can ‘connect the unconnected’ in India, enable faster 5G rollout and truly help India realize its ‘Digital India’ vision”. 5G will serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country. According to an Ericsson study, on an average, a 10 percent increase in the Mobile Broadband adoption ratio causes a 0.8 percent increase in GDP.”

Over the past few months, Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have partnered to demonstrate enhanced speeds of more than 1Gbps on a live 5G network set up at Cyber Hub in Gurgaon using Bharti’s 3500 MHz trial spectrum. Earlier in January this year, the two companies also showcased Ericsson Spectrum Sharing capabilities on a commercially deployed installed base of 1800 MHz liberalized frequencies in Hyderabad to give consumers their first experience of 5G from a live commercial network.

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5G now in 1947 cities across 72 countries

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NEW DELHI: Viavi Solutions said that it has released new industry data revealing that the number of cities with 5G networks now stands at 1,947 globally. Despite the pandemic, 5G cities came online at a rate of nearly two per day, with the addition of 635 new 5G cities in 2021, according to the new VIAVI report “The State of 5G,” now in its sixth year.

By the end of January 2022, 72 countries had 5G networks in place, with the newest crop of 5G countries comprising Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius, which all came online in the second half of 2021. Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) has overtaken Asia Pacific including Greater China (APAC) to become the region with the most 5G cities at 839. APAC has 689 5G cities and the Americas has 419.

Not surprisingly, the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China are the countries with the most 5G cities. China now has 356 5G cities and the United States has 296. The Philippines remained in the third spot globally with a total of 98 5G cities.

Currently, most 5G networks deployed are Non-Standalone (NSA) networks, meaning that 5G equipment is added to existing 4G network infrastructure. There are currently 24 Standalone (SA) 5G networks globally, meaning that they have been built using a new 5G core network. It is widely considered that many of the next-generation use cases and monetization models associated with 5G, beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will only be possible when Standalone 5G networks built on new 5G core networks are in place.

The State of 5G also highlights the growing Open RAN ecosystem, combining mobile operators as well as software and infrastructure vendors, seeking to develop an open, virtualized Radio Access Network (RAN) with embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) control. As of March 2022, 64 operators have publicly announced their participation in the development of Open RAN networks. This breaks down to 23 live deployments of Open RAN networks, 34 in the trial phase with a further seven operators that have publicly announced they are in the pre-trial phase.

“5G continued to expand, despite the headwinds of a global pandemic,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO, VIAVI Solutions. “What comes next in 5G is the reinforcement of networks. This will take a couple of forms. Firstly, we expect to see more Standalone 5G networks, which will deliver on much of the promise of 5G, both for the operator and for the wider ecosystem of users. And secondly, we expect to see Open RAN continue its rapid development and start to become a de facto standard. VIAVI will continue to play a central role in testing those new networks as they are built and expanded.”

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Apollo Hospitals joins hands with Cisco and Airtel

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, partnered with Apollo Hospitals and Cisco to create a 5G Connected Ambulance that transforms access to healthcare and save lives in emergency situations. The demonstration was conducted in Bengaluru over the 5G trial spectrum allotted to Airtel by the Department of Telecom.

The custom-designed state-of-the-art 5G Connected Ambulance is equipped with the latest medical equipment, patient monitoring applications, and telemetry devices that transmit the patient health data to the hospital in real-time. In addition, it is also equipped with onboard cameras, camera-based Headgear, and Bodycams for paramedic staff – all connected to the ultra-fast & low latency Airtel 5G network. It will be further enabled with technologies like AR/VR.

When a critical patient is enroute to the hospital and every second makes a difference, the 5G Connected Ambulance acts as an extension of emergency room and enables the following:

Always connected to the Hospital: The high-speed, low latency 5G network relays the Geo-location of every Ambulance to the hospital’s command center to ensure the nearest Ambulance reaches the critical patient to save the patient’s Golden hour time. Also, Ambulance transmits the patient’s complete telemetry data, including vitals, in real-time to doctors and experts at the hospital. This allows the doctors at ER to make faster decisions and advise the paramedics in ambulance to administer required aid while on the move. It also prepares the hospital staff to better manage the patient on arrival and save precious time.

Transports doctors virtually to the Ambulance: With real-time camera feed available, the paramedics in ambulance can use the cameras to collaborate with the ER doctors at the hospital who are equipped with technologies like AV/VR to undertake basic procedures, if necessary. The doctors can virtually guide the paramedic to carry out the procedure and save precious lives.

Ajay Chitkara, Director & CEO, Airtel Business, Bharti Airtel said: “5G is a transformational technology, and this is yet another demonstration by Airtel as to how collaborations can unlock the potential of digital platforms for the good of humanity. Healthcare is one of the most promising use cases for 5G, and we are delighted to deepen our partnerships with Apollo Hospitals and Cisco to bring some innovative use cases for the Indian market.”

Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “Apollo Hospitals have been evangelists of connected ambulances and using these to reduce mortality and utilize the Golden Hour to the benefit of patients. The criticality of the ‘Golden hour’ is well known. It can mean the difference between life and death for seriously ill or trauma patients in an emergency. The Golden hour is impacted by the facilities in an ambulance and the distance from the Hospital. Studies show that an increased journey distance to the Hospital is associated with an increased risk of mortality, with a 10‐km increase in straight‐line distance associated with around a 1% absolute increase in mortality. Studies also indicate that pre-hospital time management should become a management objective. These insights propelled us to collaborate with Airtel on the 5G connected ambulance project and use 5G in order to utilize the disruption-free, lag-free connectivity it provides.”

She also said, “This will help save many lives as timely treatment can be started even in the Ambulance itself. The 5G connected ambulance is testament to Apollo Hospitals’ commitment to utilize the power to technology in healthcare for the benefit of patients.”

Anand Bhaskar, Managing Director, Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC, said, “Cisco’s partnership with Airtel, through our Country Digitization Acceleration program, is a step towards bringing the immense possibilities of 5G to life by improving the performance of critical-care applications. 5G will be a game-changer in enabling new use cases and improving efficiency across every industry and specifically in the healthcare sector, as 5G will arm doctors with actionable insights to augment patient monitoring and treatment.”

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Airtel showcases exciting future of immersive video entertainment on 5G

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, today showcased 5G’s high-speed, low latency capabilities to transform the future of video entertainment and take the user experience to the next level.

Using cutting edge immersive video technologies over its high speed 5G test network, Airtel recreated the in-stadia experience of Kapil Dev’s famous 175 not out vs Zimbabwe, during the 1983 Cricket World Cup. A special 175 Replayed video, in 4K mode, brought to key moments from the match to life, which had no video footage due to a strike by TV technicians.

With speeds of over 1 Gbps and latency of under 20 ms, more than 50 concurrent users enjoyed a highly personalized 4K video experience of the match on 5G smartphones, with real-time access to multiple camera angles, 360-degree in-stadia view, shot analysis and stats.

The session was made even more exciting with India’s first 5G powered hologram interaction with Kapil Dev. The Airtel 5G powered virtual avatar of the legendary cricketer appeared on the stage, to interact with the fans in real-time and walk them through the key moments of his innings.

Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel: “The gigabit speeds and millisecond latency of 5G will transform the way we consume entertainment. With today’s demonstration, we have only scratched the surface of the infinite possibilities of 5G and highly personalized immersive experiences in the digital world. With 5G based holograms, we will be able to transport virtual avatars to any location and this will be a game changer for meetings and conferences, LIVE news and will have so many other use cases. Airtel is fully prepared for 5G in this emerging digital world and is building a solid pipeline of innovative use cases for India. We also take this opportunity to thank the Department of Telecom for giving us the trial spectrum, to validate our technology and use cases.”

Describing his experience, Kapil Dev added: “I am simply amazed by the power of 5G technology and seeing my digital avatar interact with my fans as if I am actually there. Thank you Airtel for this wonderful effort and bringing to life one of the most important innings of my career.”

Airtel conducted the demonstration at its Network Experience Center in Manesar (Gurugram) using Ericsson 5G Radio in NSA and SA modes over 3500 MHz band test spectrum allotted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India.

Airtel is spearheading 5G in India. Earlier this year Airtel demonstrated India’s first 5G experience over a live 4G network. It also demonstrated India’s first rural 5G trial as well as the first cloud gaming experience on 5G. As part of #5GforBusiness, Airtel has joined forces with leading global consulting and technology companies and brands to test 5G based solutions.

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