How Reliance Jio plans to catalyse India’s 5G ecosystem

Jio 5G

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said that its telecom arm, Reliance Jio is set to play a key role in the development of the 5G ecosystem in India and its 4G network is ready to transition to 5G and beyond. The telecom operator is now preparing to begin trials of 5G equipment, which it has developed on its own.

“Jio with its 5G-ready network and extensive fibre assets would play a key role in the development of the 5G ecosystem in India, based on market dynamics… the core and aggregation layers of the Jio network have been converged and 5G-ready from the time of inception,” Reliance Industries Limited said in its annual report.

“Jio’s all-IP data network is built on 4G-LTE technology. The network built as a mobile video network carries more than 4 Exabytes of data monthly and is future-ready to transition to 5G and beyond,” RIL added.

Jio, which is India’s largest telecom operator by subscribers, has reportedly developed its own 5G equipment, which it intends to use during upcoming 5G field trials. It is immediately looking to test its own 5G equipment in its labs and has sought India’s Department of Telecommunications’ approval.

With the help of its own hardware, the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom is looking to cut dependence on foreign telecom equipment makers and bring cost-related advantages. It currently works with Samsung for its wireless 4G network in India, and uses technology from Cisco and Nokia among others.

While Jio wants to use its own 5G technology for field trials, it has also filed applications with the DoT to conduct trials with European vendors – Ericsson and Nokia, and its existing partner Samsung.

Interestingly, Jio has kept Huawei or ZTE away from its network, but had filed an application with the DoT to conduct 5G field trials using Chinese vendors’ technology.

5G field trials have been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country and the government is yet to come up with a fresh timeline.  The government has already notified guidelines for 5G trial licenses. 

Telecom operators can get up to 100 Mhz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, 400 MHz in the 26 GHz band under the trial license by paying Rs 5,000, as per the latest guidelines.

Jio is leveraging the expertise of Radisys and Rancore Technologies to drive in-house research and development of 5G equipment and related telecom gear. Acquisitions of both these companies are also helping the telecom operator to enhance its in-house capabilities around open source technologies, SDN-NFV, and IoT platforms.

Reports suggest that Jio wants to use its own technologies to develop local 5G use cases and global use cases such as drone-based surveillance and industrial IoT.

The telecom operator has also developed in-house enterprise solutions that it has already provided to some large customers in India.

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