India will start enjoying 5G this Diwali with Reliance Jio
- The top telecom mobile operator in India earmarked US$25 billion for the rollout of its 5G services that it plans to debut in key cities this Diwali in October.
- Jio will extend its 5G network to “every town” in India by the end of 2023.
Earlier this month, Reliance Industries Ltd. emerged as the biggest spender in the US$19 billion 5G spectrum auction in India. The country’s top telecom player won airwaves worth US$11 billion just as the world’s second largest mobile market gears up for the high-speed wireless network. Less than a month later, Reliance announced that it will begin the rollout of 5G throughout Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by Diwali.
After the debut in key cities in October, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., the telecom unit of the retail-to-refining conglomerate, said it will work on extending its 5G network to “every town” in India by the end of next year. The move coincides with the issuance of spectrum assignment letters a few days ago by the Indian government, which means telecom providers can start rolling out 5G as soon as they are ready.
At the Reliance Jio’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday, Chairman Mukesh Ambani also shared that his company, which has amassed more than 421 million telecom subscribers, has committed 2 trillion rupees (US$25 billion) for their 5G rollout. Ambani also highlighted that they will deploy a “standalone 5G” version that doesn’t depend on the earlier 4G network and will deliver speedier connectivity.
Reliance plans on making use of both wired and wireless assets to cover 3.3 million square kilometers — the nation’s total land mass — with fiber-quality broadband. Ambani noted that the service has the potential to connect 100 million homes as well as accelerate the adoption of fixed broadband services.
“Jio 5G will be the world’s largest and most advanced 5G network. Most operators are deploying a version of 5G, called Non-Standalone 5G, which is essentially a 5G radio signal delivered over an existing 4G infrastructure. This Non-Standalone approach is a hasty way to nominally claim a 5G launch, but it won’t deliver the breakthrough improvements in performance and capability possible with 5G,” Ambani noted in his speech during the AGM.
In addition to the 3500 MHz mid-band which is globally earmarked for 5G, and the 26 GHz millimeter-wave band for ultra-high capacity, Ambani highlighted that only Jio has the 700 MHz low-band spectrum which is essential for deep indoor coverage. “And we are able to seamlessly combine these frequencies into a single powerful ‘data highway’, using an advanced technology, called Carrier Aggregation,” he added.
Additionally, the company is also working with Meta, Google, Microsoft, Intel and Qualcomm to broaden their joint collaborations, Ambani noted. With Meta in particular, Jio is working to develop immersive technology and metaverse, whereas the Indian firm and Google are working on ultra-affordable 5G smartphones as well as collaborating on Google Cloud in the country, he said.
Microsoft and Jio inked a deal in 2019 to bring Office 365 and other solutions to small businesses. The companies said they are working on broadening their business applications offerings. Jio said it is also expanding its partnership with Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions for India, which both the firms believe can be expanded outside of the country.
Besides all that, Reliance also unveiled JioAirFiber, a home gateway that will enable users to get wireless internet with super-high speeds. Users will just need to get the product and plug it in and it will be like a personal hotspot with 5G speeds. “Digital freedom is the birth right of every Indian,” Ambani said. “Therefore, 5G cannot remain an exclusive service, available only to the privileged few, or only to those in our largest cities — we plan to increase the Jio 5G footprint month after month,” he concluded.
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