The countdown for the next big thing in the telecom sector has now begun. At the fourth edition of the India Mobile Congress, which was held virtually this year. It was held virtually because of the COVID pandemic. Reliance Industries’ Chairman and the Managing Director Mukesh Ambani decided to set the agenda for the domestic telecom sector. He thought to set this at least for the next one year.
In his speech on the first day of the of the three-day conference, Ambani said that his telecom venture, Reliance Jio will be pioneering the 5G revolution in India in the second half of the next year 2021. He also said that It will be powered by the growing developed network for the hardware and technology components.
To introduce 5G network in India, Ambani will be needing two things – firstly the spectrum to be made available to telcos, and second the 5G-ready infrastructure. The first aspect is out of his control, but there is strong likelihood of the government conducting the 5G spectrum auctions early in the next year.
Until the 5G infrastructure is concerned, Jio has been working on that piece for quite a time. As Ambani had mentioned in his RIL’s last annual general meeting that was held in the month of July, Jio is building its own 5G solutions, including both the hardware and software, through this it plans to compete with Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia and other proprietary telecom vendors across the nation. He had also said that Jio will not only move these 5G equipment in its network but it will also export them.
Ambani said at IMC on 18th December , Friday that the Jio’s 5G service will be a testimony to the inspiring vision of the people for AtmaNirbhar Bharat. He said that the 5G will enable India to participate in the fourth industrial revolution. Along with that it will also be leading it. Jio Platforms has a family that contains over 20 start-up partners. It has built world-class capabilities in the field of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, internet of things, blockchain, etc.
To say it in more detail, Jio has taken the O-RAN route to build its 5G solutions under which some of the components will be sourced from the specialised vendors like Qualcomm, Samsung, etc while others are said to be developed in-house. Jio, for an instance, acquired US-based Radisys in the year 2018 in order to build capabilities in system integration and the network virtualisation.
The deployment of O-RAN networks is still about to come at a global stage, and the experts believe that Jio would require vendors for its telecom equipment needs, given that its size is over 400 million subscribers, pan-India coverage.
Also, the fact that Jio has partnered with Google in order to develop the cheap 5G smartphones shows that it’s working a lot on the back-end things like the equipment and software. Also front-end which are the handsets work simultaneously so that by the time 5G services come out, the end consumers will be having affordable device in their hands. As per IDC, the average selling price of the 5G smartphone is expected to be around $611 which is Rs 45,000 INR in 2020 whereas Jio’s smartphone is expected to cost under Rs 5,000, which is very low for a 5G phone.
Ambani has declared a short deadline for the launch of 5G, whereas his competitor Sunil Mittal who is the Chairman of Airtel, said at IMC 2020 that India will be ready for 5G in the next upcoming two-three years. From the time India aspired to take a lead in the global 5G race which is going on, it’s now believed that India should wait to move the next-generation of telecom technology since a delayed launch would help the domestic telcos to learn from the mistakes of others that they make.