Bharti Airtel advanced its non-standalone 5G network plans, working with Mavenir to complete open RAN validation tests which delivered data rates of more than 1Gb/s in what the companies claimed as a first in India.

In a statement, Mavenir noted the open RAN tests were conducted in the cities of Chandigarh and Mohali in Punjab state on the 3.5GHz band, using test spectrum allotted by the Department of Telecommunication.

Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon called the validation “a major milestone” for the open RAN ecosystem in India.

The operator started standalone 5G trials in the city of Gurugram using 3.5GHz spectrum in June 2021.

With a 5G spectrum auction expected later this year, operators will likely start to launch services in the next 12 months.

Last week, Airtel unveiled plans to partner with Tech Mahindra to establish a joint 5G innovation lab, with the companies to develop and market private networks for enterprise customers in India.