India’s Vodafone Idea partners local startups for 5G use cases

Vodafone Idea 5G use cases
Woman holding a mobile phone with Vodafone Idea VI logo. Image by Amlan Mathur | Bigstockphoto

Vodafone Idea is taking the aggressive route to test 5G use cases for enterprises across various industries using the trial spectrum in India. The telco Monday partnered with homegrown startups — Vizzbee Robotics Solution and Tweek Labs — to test 5G-based solutions on aerial traffic management and motion capture systems.

The telecom operator had previously collaborated with Larsen & Toubro for testing and validating smart city solutions based on 5G and Italy’s Athonet to test and develop Industry 4.0 use cases using high-speed, low-latency technology.

Through its partnership with Vizzbee Robotics Solution, Vodafone Idea said it would trial Unmanned Aerial Traffic Management (UTM) and the Management Server (Aerobridge) using the 5G Network to validate solutions as streaming live video frames from the UAV over the network. In addition, it will demonstrate public safety and law enforcement applications for ground personnel and perform real-time analytics from the data captured via drones.

The Tweek Labs collaboration will allow Vodafone Idea to test a full motion capture suite using 5G technology, which can be an effective solution for sports training as it helps monitor the performance of athletes.

“We at VIL are committed to empower start-ups to grow through innovation and design. We believe in partnering with the best and most innovative technology providers which can help us deliver solutions to enhance business outcomes for our customers. “We are conducting 5G trials to identify a range of India specific use cases that can accelerate the achievement of Smart Cities, Smart Enterprises and Smart Citizens,” Abhijit Kishore, Chief Operating Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited, said in a statement.

Vodafone Idea has deployed its 5G trial in a setup of an end-to-end captive network of Cloud Core, new generation Transport and Radio Access Network, along with its technology partner Ericsson in Pune city. It recently claimed peak speed above 3.7 Gbps with very low latency on the mmWave spectrum band using equipment in 5G Non-Standalone network architecture and NR Radios.

The cash-strapped telecom operator, an Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group partnership company, is currently looking to raise funding after opting for a 4-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum payments.

The telco said that smart city and Industry 4.0 will accelerate with 5G deployment and “usher in a promising new era of Digital India.”

Vodafone Idea’s bigger rival, Bharti Airtel, has also started forming alliances with various technology vendors and enterprises to test these new solutions using 5G trial spectrum.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco said it is collaborating with global consulting and technology companies such as Accenture, AWS, Cisco, Ericsson, Google Cloud, Nokia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to work with brands such as Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart, and other manufacturing companies to test 5G based solutions.

Airtel said the 5G solutions include use cases such as Smart Factory, Smart Healthcare, 5G-powered Quality Inspection, Digital Twin, connected frontline workforce, and AR/VR-based use cases, amongst others.

“We are delighted to work with our strategic technology partners and some of our enterprise customers to start testing real-life 5G applications of the future. This also offers tremendous learnings across the value chain and lays a solid foundation for future application roadmap,” Randeep Singh Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel said in a separate statement.

India’s top telco, Reliance Jio, is also conducting trials of 5G use cases ranging from AR/VR, Low-latency Cloud Gaming, Network Slicing and Multi-tenancy for video delivery, TV streaming, Video Chat and Connected Hospital.

Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea os recently sought a one-year extension from the government for carrying out 5G trials using the test spectrum, which, if allowed, would push the auction of 5G spectrum to the second half of 2022.

Jio and Airtel have said that their networks are 5G ready, and they will be able to roll out commercial 5G services within six months of spectrum auctions.

Related article: India’s Airtel, Vodafone Idea preparing networks for 5G technology

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