Indian state-owned operator BSNL struck a partnership with US-based Coriant to strategise for 5G in the country and deploy 5G-based industrial applications for enterprise customers.
According to The Economic Times (ET), the companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to lay the foundations in network architecture and services, leveraging technologies including 5G, IoT, SDN, NFV and mobile edge computing.
At this stage, the agreement between the two companies is on a non-commerical basis, but Coriant will help BSNL with its own rollout once 5G is commercially launched.
BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava said the non-binding agreement would see the companies share technological information, with a focus on areas including waste management, healthcare and education “which could be useful for 5G service”.
The operator is ramping its 5G efforts after striking an agreement in March with Finland-based Nokia to start trialling pre-commercial 5G technologies. According to ET, BSNL wants to leverage Nokia’s global experience in 5G related industry initiatives.
Coriant, meanwhile, will “facilitate service innovation” leveraging 5G, as well as design network architecture best suited for consumer needs.
BSNL is a latecomer to the country’s 4G race, and plans to complete build out of its 3G and 4G networks in March 2018.
The company also plans to refarm some 3G spectrum to 4G later this year, and is pushing the government to approve its request to access 700MHz, which it hopes to use for both 4G and 5G services.
India’s mobile market is currently going through a period of cut-throat competition and consolidation due to the entrance of low cost operator Reliance Jio.