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Airtel in partnership with Ericsson successfully tests India’s first RedCap technology on its 5G network

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Bharti Airtel and Ericsson today announced the successful testing of Ericsson’s pre-commercial Reduced Capability (RedCap) software on the Airtel 5G network. Carried out in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. using its 5G RedCap test module, the testing on 5G TDD network represents the first implementation and validation of RedCap in India.

Ericsson RedCap is a new radio access network (RAN) software solution that creates new 5G use cases and enables more 5G connections from devices such as smartwatches, other wearables, and industrial sensors and AR/VR devices.

RedCap is the next evolution of 5G technology to cater for the use cases that are not yet best served by current new radio (NR) specifications. Compared to LTE device category 4, RedCap offers similar data rates with improved latency, device energy efficiency and spectrum efficiency. There is also the potential to support 5G NR features such as enhanced positioning and network slicing.

Commenting on the testing, Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel says, “At Airtel we are constantly pushing the boundaries on technological innovations to find ways to enhance customer experience. The successful testing of RedCap technology on our network will enable futuristic IoT broadband adoption for devices including wearables and industrial sensors in a way that is both cost and energy efficient. RedCap’s broader applicability, will further our innovation agenda to bring out newer applications for consumers, industries and enterprises.”

Sandeep Hingorani, Head of Network Solutions for Customer Unit Bharti at Ericsson states, “With our customers like Airtel continuously investing in network capabilities to seize the opportunities offered by 5G, the commercialization of RedCap capabilities will enable them to grow their consumer business and enable new industry applications, all while improving network performance and energy efficiency.”

Ericsson RedCap will open up a new world of possibilities for communications service providers, allowing for the introduction of services beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) on 5G standalone architecture, broadening the ecosystem and offering new monetization opportunities in both the consumer and industrial spaces.

RedCap can effectively scale down the complexity, size and capabilities of device platforms to offer cost-efficient integration into devices such as smartwatches and industrial sensors. This approach facilitates diverse use cases that may not always require the high-performance capabilities of current 5G technology. Some consumer applications that can benefit from RedCap are wearables and augmented reality/virtual reality. Industrial applications include video monitoring and inventory management. For Bharti Airtel, RedCap can also improve operational efficiencies with optimized cost structures accelerating the industry 4.0 transformation with 5G private networks.

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