Airtel completes trial of private 5G network; L&T throws hat in ring for CNPN spectrum

18 Jul 2022

Indian cellco Bharti Airtel has completed a successful trial of what it claims is India’s first 5G private network at Bosch Automotive Electronics India’s facility in Bengaluru. According to the cellco, the trial used the 5G trial spectrum allocated to Airtel by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and comprised two use cases, for ‘quality improvement and operational efficiency’. For one use case, the 5G system helped the manufacturer’s shop floor managers to identify and resolve issues in real time, reducing the Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). The other use case, meanwhile, reduced the time taken to assess quality through Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) of surface-mounted devices by providing faster data transfer over a reliable and secure network to an Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) server for real-time decision making by Bosch Manufacturing Execution System (BMES).

Regarding the tests, Subhash P., Head of Technical Functions at Bosch Automotive Electronics India, was quoted as saying: ‘The low latency and reliable connectivity provided by the Airtel Private 5G network at our facility which was experienced during the proof of concept is enabling us to enhance our efficiency and our productivity. Usage of 5G will significantly reduce IT wired infrastructure and enhance the operational efficiency.’

In a related development, the Economic Times writes that engineering services firm L&T Technologies has become the first company to publicly confirm its intention to pursue the direct allocation of 5G spectrum from the government for the establishment of its own private 5G network. The paper cites L&T CEO Amit Chadha as saying that the firm will look to obtain spectrum for a Captive Non-Public Network (CNPN), which it will use to build 5G use cases. According to the official, the company is working on use cases for medical emergency room setting and remote operating procedures, as well as defence use cases and solutions for plant engineering. Whilst the spectrum requested by L&T is for its Mysore campus the company has also set up a device testing lab in Bangalore, in addition to sites overseas in Dallas and Munich. L&T Technologies will also look to deploy 5G technology for its own premises, whilst other tech companies under the umbrella of parent company Larsen & Toubro Group are similarly keen to acquire 5G spectrum for their own CNPNs.