What ever happened to “Home Grown 5G” at Reliance Jio? Over two years ago, Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani said his company had developed its own 5G solution “from scratch.”
“Jio 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.
–>Since then we haven’t heard anything about Jio’s indigenously built 5G network. Jio has not disclosed whose network equipment is being used for its current 5G roll-out in India which started this month.
In stark contrast, telecom equipment vendors Ericsson and Nokia have signed separate multi-year deals with Reliance Jio to build a mega 5G network. The announcements neither divulged the deal sizes or time frames. They came amid large network deployments across India for 5G services.
- Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson announced a long-term strategic 5G contract with Reliance Jio to roll out a 5G standalone (SA) network in the country.
- Finland headquartered Nokia will supply Reliance Jio, which has more than 420 million customers, with 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment in a multi-year deal, the Finnish company said in a statement.
Announcing the partnership with Ericsson, Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio, says: “We are delighted to partner with Ericsson for Jio’s 5G SA rollout. Jio transformed the digital landscape in India with the launch of LTE services in 2016. We are confident that Jio’s 5G network will accelerate India’s digitalization and will serve as the foundation for achieving our nation’s ‘Digital India’ vision.”
Ericsson’s 5G RAN products and solutions from Ericsson Radio System and E-band microwave mobile transport solution will be deployed in the 5G network for Jio, the equipment company said. This is the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country, according to the previously referenced press release.
Ericsson recently topped the Frost Radar™: Global 5G Network Infrastructure Market ranking for second year in a row. Ericsson was also named a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report by Gartner. The Company invests around 18 percent of global revenue in R&D and holds the leading patent portfolio in the industry, with more than 60,000 granted patents worldwide. It is also the holder of the most 5G essential patents.
“Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO antennas, and Remote Radio Heads to support different spectrum bands, and self-organizing network software,” the company said. Nokia has a long-standing presence in India. This new deal will mean that Nokia is now supplying India’s three largest mobile operators.
Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO at Nokia stated: “This is a significant win for Nokia in an important market and a new customer with one of the largest RAN footprints in the world. This ambitious project will introduce millions of people across India to premium 5G services, enabled by our industry-leading AirScale portfolio. We are proud that Reliance Jio has placed its trust in our technology and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with them.”
5G data speeds in India are expected to be about 10 times faster than those of 4G, with the network seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. Reliance snapped up airwaves worth $11 billion in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction in August and had launched 5G services in select cities. It is also working with Alphabet Inc’s Google to launch a budget 5G smartphone. As India’s telecom service providers roll out 5G services, the government is also pushing top mobile phone manufacturers, like Apple Inc, Samsung and others to prioritise rolling out software upgrades to support 5G, amid concerns that many of their models are not ready for the high-speed service. The Reliance-Nokia deal comes at a time some gover nments, including India, have either banned or discouraged the use of China’s Huawei in national networks.
“Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of customers,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, said. Meanwhile, Jio is planning to raise an additional $1.5 billion via external commercial borrowings to fund its 5G capital expenditure plans, reports said. ABP Pvt. Ltd.
Analysts said the 5G rollout in the country would be much slower than 4G or 3G as the main revenue for the service would be generated from enterprise solutions. Indian telco deals with the equipment makers are meant for areas where enterprises would demand the service. Retail consumers will be wary of paying a higher price just for speed, they said.