Airtel eyes IoT use cases for 5G after successful RedCap test

Airtel eyes IoT use cases for 5G after successful Ericsson RedCap test

Bharti Airtel and Ericsson say that they have successfully tested RedCap software on Airtel’s 5G network, which Airtel hopes will open up new IoT use cases for 5G in India.

The Airtel RedCap trial utilized Ericsson’s pre-commercial RedCap software and Qualcomm’s 5G RedCap test module on Airtel’s 5G TDD network. The companies say it’s the first implementation and validation of RedCap in India.

RedCap (Reduced Capability) is an enhancement of 3GPP Release 17 that enables less complex, low-power devices to use 5G NR networks. In essence, it’s the 5G equivalent of NB-IoT, which enables IoT use cases for LTE networks. RedCap makes it feasible for devices such as wearables and industrial sensors to connect via 5G.

While RedCap IoT devices by design don’t leverage the full capability of 5G NR, Ericsson says that in future they can potentially support 5G NR features such as enhanced positioning and network slicing.

“We believe with RedCap’s broader applicability, Airtel will further innovate various use cases such as new applications for consumers, industries and enterprises,” said Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon.

RedCap could potentially play a significant role in the rush by Airtel and its current 5G rival Reliance Jio to target verticals with private 5G offerings. Indian telcos see a golden revenue opportunity in private 5G, and caught a break in May 2023 when India’s Department of Telecommunication (DoT) reversed course on a plan to allocate 5G spectrum directly to enterprises.


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