Indian mega-corp Tata unveils surprise 5G networking business

Local carrier Airtel will adopt it — next comes world domination

Indian mega-conglomerate the Tata Group has revealed it’s created a 5G networking kit business.

The company on Monday announced it has built an “O-RAN-based Radio & NSA/SA Core and has integrated a totally indigenous telecom stack”.

Indian mobile carrier Airtel, which boasts over 340 million subscribers, will make Tata’s offering a part of its 5G rollout, starting with a pilot in early 2022.

Tata operates 30 different companies spanning industries including tourism, steel-making, chemicals and, in a role probably more familiar to The Register readers, IT services with its Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) operation.

TCS will implement the kit, which Tata reckons won’t strain the services outfit’s capabilities seeing as so much of the 5G core is software-defined.

Tata stated that once Airtel has proven its 5G kit in action, export opportunities will follow. Tata will therefore find itself competing with the likes of Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson and Huawei for 5G deals around the world.

Another competitor could be rival Indian industrial conglomerate Reliance Jio, which has also created a 5G stack.

Competition between Jio and Tata may be about heat up on other fronts too, as India media report that Tata is set to seek billions in funding for an app that will offer a wide range of shopping, transport, and financial services products. Jio already offers many of those services through its MyJio app.

So-called “super apps” are becoming increasingly prevalent in Asia, with Singapore’s Grab and Korea’s Line adding more and more services to their offerings. Indonesia’s Gojek and Tokopedia recently merged to ensure their combined apps have the breadth to remain relevant. ®

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