Reliance Jio claim: Complete 5G solution from scratch with 100% home grown technologies
Indian wireless upstart Reliance Jio has developed its own 5G solution “from scratch,” according to Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani (India’s richest man). The company plans to launch “a world-class 5G service in India…using 100% home grown technologies and solutions,” he said in a statement at the Reliance Industries annual shareholders meeting. “Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India-scale, Jio Platforms would be well-positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally, as a complete managed service,” he added.
–>Please see references 1. and 2. below for video clips of Ambani’s speech.
The company’s equipment is ready for deployment this year, as soon as 5G spectrum is available, Ambani said (more details below). A roll-out will be relatively easy, thanks to its existing all-IP 4G network, according to Ambani.
The development supports the India government’s local production push, to develop home-grown alternatives to technology from China (Huawei, ZTE), Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, etc. Ambani did not outline the exact components developed, but he said the company would look to export the 5G system to other countries as well.
Nor did he comment on India’s IMT 2020 Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) submission from TSDSI which is moving forward as a 5G Radio Interface Technology (RIT) that will be standardized by ITU-R in IMT-2020.SPECS late this year.
The regulatory environment for Jio has been incredibly benign for its entire existence, from being given a special national license to the crippling historical license fees being imposed on its competitors. As a result Jio now sees itself as the world’s first ‘super operator’ and it seems to have the full backing of the Indian state in that ambition.
The Business Standard reports that Jio has applied to the Department of Telecom for trial 5G spectrum. The company is reportedly seeking 800 MHz in the mmWave bands 26 and 24 GHz and 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band for field trials of its new network in a few metro areas.
If Jio really does have 5G Radio and Core technology, it will be in competition with global wireless network infrastructure giants, such as Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung, which dominate the global wireless telecom market.
According to India Department of Telecom (DOT) sources, Jio has said its 5G network solution is ready and it can start trials immediately after spectrum is allocated. It has also revealed that it took the company three years and a few hundred engineers to turn this dream into reality. DOT sources say that, in a communication on July 17th, Jio made a strong pitch for spectrum in the mmwave band, arguing that countries like the US, South Korea, Japan, and Canada are veering towards preference of the 28- GHZ band for 5G deployment, while others like Australia, the UK, and European countries want to be in the 26- GHZ band.
Jio’s reasoning is that, given its plans to offer its 5G products in the global market, it is essential for it to have trial runs of the technology on these crucial frequency bands. It plans to test and successfully deploy the 5G technology on its own network, after which it can be sold overseas to other wireless telcos.
Moreover, it would like to test the technology in dense urban environments in India. Once it has proved itself there, it’s likely to work well in large big cities overseas.
As a result, Jio has requested that 800 MHZ of spectrum be assigned to it in 26.5–29.5 GHZ and 24.25-27.5 GHZ in the mmWave bands. It has also asked for 100 MHZ in the 3.5- GHZ mid spectrum band.
The government’s upcoming auction process is expected to kick-start by August, but it might be limited to only 4G spectrum. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has currently given its recommendation for the base price of spectrum in the 3.5-GHZ band for 5G auctions and not for mmwave bands. The DOT is expected to inform the regulator soon about the pricing of the mmwave bands for auction.
The Jio announcement comes at a time when Chinese telecom gear makers Huawei and ZTE face serious challenges, with numerous countries banning the use of their 5G equipment which they allege is, or can be, used by China to spy on them. Samsung is one player that is overly dependent on Jio as it is Jio’s largest client for 4G telecom gear and had earlier applied to the government to undertake 5G trial runs together. Jio’s 5G technology is based on a ‘virtualised 5G network’, which will ensure the current hardware-dependent networks shift to software-centric platforms.
This poses a challenge to current networks, which are based on proprietary technology, where both the hardware and software have to be bought from the same vendor, who then maintains and upgrades the system, leaving operators with limited flexibility.
The new networks being developed will be built on open platforms, so that operators will have the choice of buying hardware or software separately from different vendors or even building the latter on their own on an open platform. They could also ally with information technology companies to undertake system integration between the hardware and software and run the networks.
Apart from flexibility, this will bring down network costs substantially for 5G. According to cloud-native network software provider Mavenir, the new virtualized networks would lead to a saving of 40 per cent in capital expenditure and 34 per cent in terms of lower operations cost for operators.
7 thoughts on “Reliance Jio claim: Complete 5G solution from scratch with 100% home grown technologies”
Interesting to say the least!
An unlikely carrier goes vertical and claims yet another 5G version. Does the term “5G” mean anything specific anymore?
Basant, The MAJOR new item here is that Jio claims they’ve developed their own 5G technology & solutions from scratch, but they don’t reveal what that technology is? Or what standards/specs it supports,e.g. 3GPP Release 16, IMT 2020.specs, etc??? Or who their partner company is? Could it be Google (see video clip reference)?
Alan, Our thoughts are along the same lines. Your reply is a detailed version of my comment in the form of a rhetorical question, “Does the term “5G” mean anything specific anymore?”
As to guessing if Google will play other roles for Jio besides being a big and resourceful investor…
Google may become the captive browser, search provider, cloud and other services provider for Jio’s network. Google’s investment is obviously a strategic play.
When Reliance announced investment Qualcomm into Jio, it had said that the investment will deepen the ties between Qualcomm and Jio Platforms, “to support Jio Platforms on its journey to rollout advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”.
Additionally, with Google’s partnership, Jio plans to develop affordable smartphones using an optimized Android-based operating system. Experts peg that developing an Android 5G app ecosystem focused on emerging markets would also be an area of focus for Google from a medium-term perspective.
“It is an ambitious statement, and Jio will likely adopt a novel approach to enter the global market as a 5G vendor,” says Gabriel Brown, a principal analyst with Heavy Reading. Brown thinks the biggest challenge for Jio is scaling up. “Jio would need to scale across many markets to achieve economies of scale,” he says. “Typically, the vendors scale across many markets, which helps them spread the cost and leverage insights and learnings from different geographies.”
Jio’s takeover of US-based Radisys in 2018 could also figure in its 5G plans.
“Acquiring Radisys is a key step in Jio’s journey,” says Brown. “It provides both scale and capability to the company and a protocol stack that will help.” (See India’s Reliance Industries Snaps Up Radisys .)
Before its 4G service launch, Jio also bought another vendor called Rancore Technologies, which played a crucial role in Jio’s 4G tests and trials.
Further acquisitions seem likely. One in the open RAN space would give shape to Jio’s vision of becoming a global 5G vendor, and Jio is in a strong fiscal position after recently attracting about $20 billion in funding from technology players including Facebook, Google, Qualcomm and Intel, plus private-equity firms such as KKR, General Atlantic and Silver Lake.
“The industry has been looking out for a global telecom vendor from India for 20 years,” says Brown. “It is such a massive market. Besides, most of the top vendors have research and development centers in India, so there is a strong capability and skill set [in the country]. The required ingredients are all there, so who knows?”
What’s unclear is whether Jio’s network products would be made available in India.
Rivals may naturally be wary of using a competitor’s in-house technology, while Jio might worry about losing any network advantage that comes from its own kit.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea, Jio’s two main rivals, could also be concerned about using 5G technology from an unproven source in mission-critical applications and public safety infrastructure.
On the other hand, the possible disappearance of Chinese vendors from the Indian market would create a vacuum Jio could fill. And India’s government would probably be keen as it tries to boost reliance on homegrown technology.
Every word in that statement “Complete 5G solution from scratch with 100% home grown technologies” can parsed any way you like. It may be a little (or a lot aspirational), but so what? In the end the only thing that matters is whether they deploy a viable large scale network. Nobody will remember to judge its percentage of homegrowniness…
All true, but it is a totally unknown “complete 5G solution” as per my earlier reply to Basant’s comment
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