Jio Platforms to target less advanced countries with its 5G technology

Jio 5G
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Reliance Jio Infocomm’s parent Jio Platforms is preparing to target countries in West Asia, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asian regions to sell its own 5G end-to-end technology. The aim is to target countries that are less advanced in terms of network technologies adoption and are looking to opt for cheaper alternatives, according to a report by the Economic Times.

This comes at a time when Jio has also started its process to finalise its partners in the domain of system integration and manufacturing for its 5G products in India. The report said that Jio will only join hands with Indian companies for its 5G equipment and services.

It is likely that Jio will partner with Indian IT services players since they already possess expertise in the 5G domain since they have been working with global telecom operators. 

However,  Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in its report, expressed doubts over Jio’s export potential by saying that offering services to other international telcos is entirely a different proposition. “It remains unclear to us why other telcos would open their networks and allow another telco to manage their networks,” it said.

While Jio is looking for partners in certain areas, the company’s past acquisitions in the telecom equipment/software space, including its controlling stake in Radisys, Airspan and others such as Haptik and Embibe (Artificial Intelligence), Reverie (vernacular chatbots) and Fynd (analytics) among others will provide the company with the ability to build its own solutions.

The solutions could be leveraged for its own rollout, and could possibly be considered for sale to other telcos, UBS said in an analysis note. 

Jio’s own 5G solutions could give it a 10-15% potential saving vs others in 5G rollout on a “total cost” basis. The global export market is sizable with an annual telco equipment CAPEX pool of US$60-80 billion. “…but we believe incumbents have advantages of scale, relationships and R&D spend, likely limiting a meaningful opportunity for Jio at least in the next two to three years as it proves its capabilities globally,” UBS said.

The ET report said that Jio will be betting big on its 5G solutions and services that its hardware for the global market. 

Jio is likely to follow Japanese e-commerce major Rakuten’s strategy to offer network strategy as a product.

Rakuten, for instance, has developed Rakuten Mobile Platform (RMP), which is a containerised, cloud platform. The RMP comprises Rakuten’s software powering its 4G and 5G radio to the OSS (operations support systems) and BSS (business support systems) through partners.

Similar to Rakuten, Jio will look to sell the technologies in the form of either an end-to-end platform it will build or in a modular way to the other operators globally. For example, the software piece would come from Radisys or Jio and do the design and integration as per the operators’ needs,” Neil Shah, partner at Counterpoint Research was quoted as saying by the publication.

Reliance Jio is expected to adopt Open RAN technologies along with Cloud-RAN architecture for its own 5G technology. The move to adopt Open RAN will also help Jio to avoid paying expensive premiums to existing equipment providers. 

“However, there still will be external dependence, as most of the semiconductors used to power the Radio access networks are likely to be foreign developed and produced,” Bernstein said.

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