RIL AGM 2020: Reliance Jio Ready For 5G Trial By Next Year, Says Mukesh Ambani
Sim card packets for Reliance Jio, are displayed in Mumbai, on Jan. 19, 2020. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

RIL AGM 2020: Reliance Jio Ready For 5G Trial By Next Year, Says Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. claimed it has developed a complete fifth-generation wireless network solution from scratch as it braces for the battle to offer better user experience in streaming, gaming and entertainment in the world’s second-largest telecom market.

The “100% home grown technology” will be ready for trials as soon as the permissions are available and can be used next year, Mukesh Ambani said while addressing shareholders during the 43rd annual general meeting of Reliance Industries Ltd.—the parent of Reliance Jio. The telecom operator, he said, will also be ready to export 5G solutions soon.

The appeal of 5G technology comes down to its ability to transmit data fast enough to download feature-length movies in seconds in a market where Netflix to Amazon are making inroads. It also has less latency. While India is yet to auction the 5G spectrum, the high-speed wireless technology, Bloomberg reported citing a Deloitte report, could be the catalyst for the nation’s digital economy that has the potential to reach $1 trillion by 2025.

Reliance Jio has now entered the league of Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei that are working on building the 5G technology.

Ambani also said Jio has joined hands with Google to develop an entry level 4G and 5G smartphone at a fraction of cost. “Google and Jio are partnering to build an operating system that could power a value engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone,” he said. “The Jio-Google partnership is determined to make India 2G-mukt.

The global search giant has agreed to buy a 7.73% stake in Jio Platforms Ltd., the digital arm of Reliance Industries and that houses Reliance Jio, for Rs 33,737 crore. Three days earlier, Qualcomm Inc.’s arm invested $97.1 million in Jio Platforms to “roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”, according to a company statement. Google and Qualcomm are the strategic partners for Jio Platforms, besides Facebook and Intel Capital.

“Jio will use the experience it had for setting up 4G network from scratch, and all those learning will be applied on 5G as well, and will be a boost for Make-in-India ambition,” Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said. A lot of companies, he said, will now look at India for building mobile and networking components. The firm will look for networking partners, and will not be going alone, Pathak said.

According to Ashutosh Sharma, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, Reliance’s decision to develop its own 5G technology could expedite the process of 5G rollout in the country.

Reliance Jio had earlier sought permission from the government to test its own 5G technology, Business Standard had reported in March, citing people aware of the matter.

Other telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. have also submitted their applications for 5G trials. Bharti Airtel has applied for the trials in partnership with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, while Vodafone Idea with Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung.

Ambani said Jio Platforms has more than 20 startup partners that are building cutting-edge technology such as 4G, 5G, cloud computing devices and operating system, big data, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, blockchain, natural language understanding and computer vision.

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“Using these technologies, we can create compelling solutions across multiple industry verticals like media, financial services, new commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility,” he said.

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In the next three years, Reliance Jio aims to connect half a billion mobile customers and over 50 million home and business establishments, Ambani said. “Time has come for a truly digital product and services company to emerge from India.”

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