Bharti Airtel and Meta Platforms have entered into a broad partnership that spans across OpenRAN, subsea cable systems and CPaaS digital solutions.
Under the partnership, both companies will jointly invest in global connectivity infrastructure and CPaaS-based digital solutions to support the emerging requirements of customers and enterprises in India.
Airtel and Meta will also work towards growing the OpenRAN ecosystem via the latter’s Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenRAN project group. Under the partnership, Airtel said that it will help increase the operational efficiency of OpenRAN and facilitate energy management and automation in radio networks using advanced analytics and AI/ML models.
Airtel is currently conducting trials for 4G and 5G OpenRAN solutions on select sites in the state of Haryana and will commercially deploy the solution across several locations in India over the next few quarters.
Airtel said that it will share its learnings with wider ecosystem partners within the TIP community, including Meta, to help accelerate the deployment of OpenRAN networks globally.
On the subsea cable front, Airtel said that it will partner with Meta and Saudi Arabian telco STC to extend 2Africa Pearls – billed as the world’s longest subsea cable system – to India. 2Africa is expected to provide faster internet connectivity to almost 3 billion people globally.
Airtel and Meta will extend the cable to Airtel’s landing station in Mumbai.
“Foundational connectivity infrastructure such as subsea cable systems are crucial for supporting the rising demand for high-speed data and digital services as India prepares to roll out 5G networks later this year,” Airtel said in a joint statement.
The 2Africa cable is expected to “significantly boost” India’s cable capacity and enable global hyper-scalers and businesses, the telco said.
WhatsApp added to Airtel IQ
Airtel will also integrate Meta’s WhatsApp within its Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform, Airtel IQ, allowing businesses to use the OTT messaging platform’s features and reach to provide omni-channel customer engagement to enterprises.
The telco said that businesses in India are rapidly shifting to cloud-based solutions to serve their customers digitally. Airtel IQ offers cloud communication across voice, messaging and video channels to help enterprises leverage automation to transform customer engagement and (ideally) boost revenue
“With our contributions to the 2Africa cable and OpenRAN, we are investing in crucial and progressive connectivity infrastructure which is needed to support the increasing demand for high-speed data in India,” said Vani Venkatesh, CEO of Global Business at Bharti Airtel.
“Subsea cables and open, disaggregated networks continue to play a huge role in the foundational infrastructure needed to support network capacity and fuel innovation,” said Francisco Varela, vice president of mobile partnerships for Meta.