Reliance Jio is preparing to launch the 5G, telecom services within six months of spectrum allocation. Which means the Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio telecom company could launch the 5G services in India by the middle of 2020.
The government recently said it plans to allocate airwaves to offer 5G services which can support download speeds 50 to 60 times faster than 4G – by end of 2019.
“Jio has 5G-ready LTE network and we are capable of launching the new technology-based services within five-six months once spectrum is allocated,” a company official who do not wish to be identified, told ET.
He added that the telco is aggressively deploying optic fiber which forms the backbone of a 5G network.
Fiber rollouts is a key near-term focus for the telecom sector, especially for the development of 5G in the country. A Morgan Stanley report said, adding that both Jio and Bharti Airtel have indicated deployment of significant MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output); and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-defined Networking (SDN), to get their networks 5G ready.
“If you don’t have instruments or routers to serve the 5G technology, this would be a challenge,” the executive said.
The Jio executive, though, said the biggest challenge would be the readiness of the ecosystem, including availability of devices, which support this spectrum band.
Both dominant chipset makers— US-based Qualcomm and Taiwanese MediaTek— are developing 5G-based modems.
Besides, the telecom arm of the Reliance Industries is in discussions with both local and multinational vendors; to ensure the availability ahead of the device before the commercial 5G rollout, the person said. Globally, devices supporting 5G technology are expected to be available
Jio did not respond to an emailed query.
Unlike previous upgrades to the newer generation of technologies, 5G would take lesser time to go to market, especially for Jio which already has an all IP-based network, industry experts say.
Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan recently said the transition to 5G from 4G could happen much faster compared with the switch from 3G to 4G services.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already invited Jio in addition to Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, and BSNL for field trials; which it is planning to allocate free-of-cost spectrum for a limited period. These pilots would provide an opportunity for telcos to develop the ecosystem and use cases for India.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has already recommended spectrum in the 3300 Mhz – 3600 Mhz range for the rollout of 5G services in the country and suggested a base price for auctioning the band.