Social media giant Meta Platforms and Bharti Airtel on Monday announced a collaboration to jointly invest in telecom infrastructure to cater to the rising demand of high speed data and digital services in India.
The announcement comes on the back of telecom operators’ demand to share revenue with service providers to build networks.
“Airtel and Meta will jointly invest in global connectivity infrastructure and CPaaS (communications platform as a service) based new-age digital solutions to support the emerging requirements of customers and enterprises in India,” the statement said.
As part of the collaboration, Airtel will partner with Meta and STC (Saudi Telecom Company), to extend the world’s longest subsea cable system, 2Africa Pearls, to India.
The plan to extend 2Africa Pearls to India was announced by Meta in September 2021.
Under the collaboration, Airtel and Meta will extend the cable to Airtel’s landing station in Mumbai and also pick up dedicated capacity to further strengthen its submarine network portfolio.
“The 2Africa cable will significantly boost India’s cable capacity and empower global hyper-scalers and businesses to build new integrated solutions and provide a high-quality seamless experience to customers,” the statement said.
Airtel will also integrate Meta’s WhatsApp within its CPaaS platform. With this integration, businesses will now be able to use WhatsApp and reach to provide omnichannel customer engagement to enterprises.
“We, at Airtel, are delighted to deepen our partnership with Meta to serve India’s digitally connected economy by leveraging the technology and infrastructure strengths of both companies. With our contributions to the 2Africa cable and Open RAN, we are investing in crucial and progressive connectivity infrastructure which is needed to support the increasing demand for high-speed data in India,” Bharti Airtel, CEO for Global Business, Vani Venkatesh said.
Airtel and Meta are members of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Open RAN project group. Airtel has signed an agreement to help increase operational efficiency of Open RAN (radio access network) and facilitate energy management and automation in radio networks using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning models.
Airtel is currently conducting trials for 4G and 5G Open RAN solutions on select sites in the state of Haryana and will commercially deploy the solution across several locations in India over the next few quarters, the statement said.
“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Airtel to further advance the region’s connectivity infrastructure that will enable a better network experience for people and businesses across India,” Meta, vice president of mobile partnerships, Francisco Varela said.