5G industry news International

Jio sets sights on 5G

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Elizabeth Coyne on 16 Oct 2020
  • Last modified 16 Oct 2020
Indian telcos spent 25 years building 2G, but Jio built its 4G network in just three years, according to Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries and founder of Reliance Jio, who delivered a keynote on Day 2 of TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World Series.

Before Jio started building out 4G, Ambani said, “Over half a billion Indians were left out of the digital movement because they couldn’t afford smartphones and had to make do with 2G feature phones.”

Today, Jio takes the top spot in the world for mobile data consumption. "Adding customers at a mind-boggling rate of seven customers every second, Jio garnered 100 million customs in just 170 days of its launch. And India’s monthly consumption went up from 0.2 billion GB to 1.2 billion GB… a growth of 600 percent... and data consumption has been multiplying ever since," he said.

But Jio is not stopping there. To prepare for 5G, it’s pulling fiber to 50 million homes and premises and pushing for 5G spectrum auctions.

Now, Jio’s got its eye on 5G platforms. In fact, Ambani said that its Jio Platforms business has “built significant capabilities in areas like cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, AI and machine learning, AR/VR and IoT.”

Ambani said, “This is just the beginning for India. Each of these solutions, once perfected in India and proven at India-scale will be well-positioned to address similar needs in other parts of the world.”

In addition to a $50 handset on the horizon, according to Reliance Industries president Kiran Thomas, who spoke later during the keynotes session, Jio’s herculean can-do attitude and goal of global expansion could cause a major shakeup amongst the 5G vendor landscape as Jio Platforms aims to be become a global vendor competing with the likes of Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei.

Said Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading,

“It is an ambitious goal and Jio will need to adopt a novel approach to succeed as a 5G vendor in the global market. Most likely this will involve an open RAN approach and working closely with silicon and RF partners to supplement in-house development.”

“Jio always had in mind that it could develop in-house technology and then export internationally. The acquisition of Radisys a couple of years ago was an important marker in this direction,” continued Brown. “India is a high-volume market and Jio itself has great scale. Nevertheless, the major vendors are active across many markets, which helps them spread R&D and production cost. They are also able to leverage insights and learnings from different geographies. To achieve competitive economies of scale Jio will need to work hard, and again, think differently.”

He added, “The industry has been looking for a global telecom vendor from India for 20+ years. The top networking technology vendors all have research and development in India and there is a very strong capability and skill set in the country, so it has to happen at some point. The start-up scene is also vibrant. It’s a tall order, but who knows? Maybe this is the start of it?”

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