Bharti Airtel partnered with Ericsson to trial the vendor’s pre-commercial reduced capability (RedCap) software on its new 5G network, preparing for the deployment of low-power IoT devices.

In a statement, the Indian operator claimed the test, which also used Qualcomm’s 5G RedCap test module, was the first validation of the technology in the country.

Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon highlighted RedCap’s broader applicability will further its “innovation agenda to bring out newer applications for consumers, industries and enterprises”.

Sandeep Hingorani, Ericsson’s head of network solutions for Bharti, added the commercialisation of RedCap capabilities will enable operators to “grow their consumer business and enable new industry applications, all while improving network performance and energy efficiency”.

RedCap is an upgrade designed to enable low-power IoT devices to run on 5G NR networks.

Ericsson’s statement claimed RedCap can scale down the complexity, size and capabilities of device platforms to deliver more cost-efficient integration into devices such as smartwatches and industrial sensors.

At its Global Mobile BroadBand Forum in Dubai last week, Ericsson rival Huawei said more than 10 carriers from seven countries across the globe have piloted commercial RedCap, with RedCap connections expected to exceed 100 million in the next three years.

South Korea’s SK Telecom in August worked with Nokia to conduct similar tests of RedCap technology in a pilot running on a commercial network at its facilities in South Korea.