Samsung deploying small cells in large volumes for Reliance Jio in India

Samsung Networks is deploying small cells in large volume for indoor coverage for Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, which is set to have 99% population coverage soon in the country, according a Samsung executive.

“We have seen drive happening on indoor small cells. But that doesn’t mean that outdoor isn’t happening. Outdoor is happening at a good speed basis the site availability and so on… We will continue to expand on this piece of the network [indoor] because there are places where it’s more value to go that way,” Srini Sundararajan, Senior Vice President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung India, told ET.

“Jio tells us what their network requirements are, and we support…indoor always volume looks larger because devices are smaller and are easy to deploy and are self-configured,” he added.

Samsung Networks had earlier this year obtained a new 4G LTE network expansion contract from its sole customer in India, Reliance Jio, to increase the telco’s 4G network penetration from around 75% to 99% by Diwali this year.

The South Korean company is the sole 4G equipment provider to Jio with contracts to supply wireless base station equipment for over 140,000 sites for pan-India coverage last year, ET had earlier reported.

Samsung deploying small cells in large volumes for Jio's indoor coverage: Networks head

Image courtesy of Economic Times Telecom (India)


Sundararajan said that Jio is expanding its networks for both coverage and capacity needs in the country. “It has to be both. There are still parts of the country we need to increase the coverage. Some of the hilly areas or remote areas. For every project, there is a certain percentage of sites for coverage and a large percentage is for capacity,” he added.

For capacity, Jio has started commercial deployment of massive mimo technology in areas where it is not able to add new sites easily.

In addition to 4G wireless equipment, Samsung is also providing packet core technology to Jio. The executive said that the virtualised packet core will play a crucial role in the 5G scenario.  Samsung is currently preparing to conduct 5G field trials in New Delhi in the first quarter of the next year, and is working closely with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

“We have a lot to offer similar to what we did on 4G, and which is why we said that we will partner with the DoT. We are directly partnering with the DoT to ensure that we listen to the needs of the government,” the executive said.

He added that the government’s involvement in these 5G field trials is very crucial for the successful commercial roll out since there will be 5G use cases that will have “societal value” along with the business value.

“The government is very proactively enabling and promoting to grow the 5G network. They are very aware that it is the ecosystem, and not just a vendor or operator. So they tend to bring different players into it to ensure that we are able to provide a high-value system for the country,” he added.

Samsung will be conducting the trial using the millimeter wave (mmwave) spectrum even as other vendors like Huawei plan to conduct trials in the mid-band.  Sundararajan said that the millimeter wave band will offer a large chunk of spectrum that can result in uses cases like fixed wireless access (FWA) with huge capacity for data services. “We need to have the technology in the mmwave to enable the true vision of the government,” he said.

Samsung is currently doing 3.5Ghz trials in the mid-band in South Korea, and in the US, we are doing mmwave trials. “We are technology agnostic, but use cases will drive the adoption of one of these bands,” he said.



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5 thoughts on “Samsung deploying small cells in large volumes for Reliance Jio in India

  1. Samsung passes ZTE in growing RAN market

    According to new figures from Dell’Oro Group, Samsung became the world’s fourth-largest network equipment vendor during the first half of this year.

    Dell’Oro’s new report also reiterates the firm’s position that the mobile infrastructure radio access network (RAN) market is finally growing after years of sluggishness. And that growth is particularly apparent in the North American market where U.S. wireless network operators are rushing to deploy advanced wireless network technologies including 5G.

    Samsung’s momentum in the market is also not much of a surprise. The company has been racking up deals with the likes of Verizon, Sprint and others, particularly in the North American market.

  2. The Dell’Oro report states that while the vendor rankings for the top three vendors remained unchanged with Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia leading the market, Samsung’s RAN revenue share reached a new record in the quarter and first half. Samsung passed ZTE in the first half of 2018 to claim a top-four market position globally for the first time, fueled by capacity investments and footprint expansion in both the North American and Asia Pacific Region. Samsung’s revenue share in the North American region increased three-fold between 2017 and the first half of 2018.

    Mobile data traffic continues to grow at an unabated pace. Equipment suppliers continue to push the technology envelope to ensure service providers can manage the exponential data growth and improve speed/coverage/capacity/quality of their networks. The constantly changing and increasingly demanding end user expectations provide opportunities for the equipment vendors to differentiate their solutions while new entrants and service provider consolidation continue to pressure equipment prices downward.

  3. How do you see the fourth-generation (4G) technology coverage presently, and what are the clear benefits for consumers and the country when it reaches to optimal level?
    With operators’ coverage reaching over 90% of the Indian population, India will be clearly connecting the unconnected, and actually making technology accessible to everyone. Covering the nation with accessible, affordable wireless broadband is just the first part of fulfilling that vision and India’s rapid acceleration of internet adoption is unparalleled as the country skyrocketed into the digital era. Pundits had said India is not ready to adopt broadband internet, India has not only adopted but enthusiastically embraced mobile broadband. This is just the start of the telco disruption and accelerated consumer mobile broadband and digital adoption.

    What is your coverage percentage currently?
    We have covered nearly 95% of the population and will reach 99% of India very soon.

  4. How do you see 5G ecosystem maturity in India?
    5G ecosystem is still evolving and the first true commercial 5G networks and devices to come into service starting 2020. What happens in 2019 in 5G would be more targeted and fixed wireless based and not of any scale. The operator ecosystem – including devices, infrastructure, regulatory, spectrum, and OEMs, are not yet ready for large scale and mass deployment. We will continue to see various targeted use cases explored and narrow deployments in the coming year.

    Jio demonstrated various live use cases and the ongoing 5G-driven trials involving facial recognition, smart agriculture, connected public digital centers supporting 3D printers and remote healthcare, intelligent drone security, and connected and remote-controlled vehicles all of these and more are being the potential possibilities with 5G technology.

    It is for the first time that two evolutionary mobile technologies would co-exist and interoperate. We will see a generation of devices that simultaneously connect to both 4G and 5G. 5G is complementary to 4G, and not an immediate replacement, which is a huge benefit to operators who have already invested significantly in 4G. In fact, most operators in India are still building out their 4G network and just launching their VoLTE based voice network.

    5G promises to deliver ultra-fast data services but affordability is a critical area when it comes to markets like India. Is cost-effective spectrum a way forward? Your views?
    If services like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and HD video content are given to people at affordable rates, people will consume and will be willing to pay for the data. As more spectrum becomes available, broadband prices will become even more prevalent and affordable enabling operators to focus more on high-quality service-driven business models. The cost per Megahertz pop in India is also significantly higher than other markets making it challenging for operators to sustain high quality and high-performance broadband. The higher cost of spectrum definitely isn’t helping the industry while spectrum capacity constraints limit the quality of service, availability, and experience.

    How do you see device ecosystem readiness in the country with 3300 Mhz – 3600 Mhz band spectrum to be auctioned for 5G services?
    5G will give higher speed to consumers in places that cannot be served by fiber. But the device ecosystem will continue to mature and possibly have 2020 as the inflection point by when the ecosystem will begin to start having significant growth. The device ecosystem is critical to ensure that operators aren’t sitting on spectrum waiting for affordable devices to show up in the market. Regarding 3.5 Ghz spectrum, those could be leveraged smartly by operators to accommodate both 4G and 5G. Based on reports it’s evident that Qualcomm and Intel will be showcasing LTE and 5G devices on 3.5 Ghz band. India clearly needs more spectrum in all bands just because of the digital adoption and the large number of new customers being added to data services every single day.

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