Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it has successfully conducted India’s first cloud-gaming session in a 5G environment. The demonstration was conducted in Manesar, Gurgaon, as part of the ongoing 5G trials, using spectrum allotted by the Department of Telecom, the company said.
Speaking to reporters at a virtual briefing, Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Bharti Airtel, said mobile gaming is a new phenomenon and gaining popularity. Cloud gaming will be one of the biggest use cases of 5G, given the combination of high speed and low latency, he added. “This is just the beginning of an exciting digital future that Airtel will enable for its customers as we prepare to roll out 5G in India,” Sekhon noted.
Cloud gaming enables users to stream and play games in real-time without having to download these or invest in gaming hardware. With the advent of 5G networks, cloud gaming is expected to become the “new normal” as users would be able to experience high-end console-like gaming on smartphones and tablets while on the move, the company said. India, with its vast youth population, growing smartphone penetration and 5G networks, will see mobile gaming evolve into a USD 2.4 billion market opportunity.
As per some estimates, India’s base of 436 million online gamers is expected to reach 510 million by 2022, Airtel said. For the 5G cloud gaming demonstration, Airtel partnered with two well-known gamers Mortal (Naman Mathur) and Mamba (Salman Ahmad), the company informed. Earlier this year, Airtel successfully demonstrated 5G services over a live 4G network in Hyderabad.
The company is currently conducting 5G trials in multiple cities across India and validating technologies and use cases through the trial spectrum allotted by the telecom department. Airtel has teamed up with Ericsson and Nokia for the trials. Earlier this week, Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had said 5G would start becoming a reality in India by the second half of the next year.
“Auction of 5G spectrum is likely to happen sometime early next year, and by H2 of 2022-2023, we will start to see 5G services coming in key cities of India,” Mittal had predicted. Mittal had also expressed hope that the pricing on the spectrum will be made attractive by the government to ensure the country benefits from a robust 5G ecosystem.