Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani (pictured) outlined his bold vision for its mobile unit, declaring Jio Platforms engineers designed and developed a complete 5G system from scratch which will be ready for trials as soon as spectrum is available, with field deployments possible in 2021.
Speaking at the conglomerate’s AGM, Ambani said the Made-in-India 5G system will enable the company to launch “a world-class” service on “100 per cent home-grown technologies”. Because its network has a converged all-IP architecture, he said operator unit Reliance Jio can easily upgrade from 4G to 5G.
Once the 5G equipment is proven in India, he said Jio Platforms will be well positioned to export the system to other global operators as a complete managed service.
Details of the company’s work first emerged in March, with reports stating it had developed its own 4G and 5G equipment.
Ambani hinted Reliance Industries’ work may go beyond infrastructure, stating a freshly-minted partnership with Google to develop an affordable 4G smartphone could go further: “We believe we can design entry-level 4G or even 5G smartphone for a fraction of its current cost.”
Delivering affordable smartphones would help overcome a key barrier holding back upgrades by today’s feature phone users, he explained.
“As India is standing at the doorsteps of the 5G era, we should accelerate the migration of 350 million Indians, who currently use a 2G feature phone, to an affordable smartphone.”
The partnership with Google forms part of an INR337 billion ($4.5 billion) investment by the US company for a 7.73 per cent stake in Jio Platforms.
It is the latest in a run of investment by non-domestic companies in Jio Platforms, which Ambani noted would help the company develop new products for India.
With Google’s investment, strategic and financial investors committed a total INR1.52 trillion in the last few months, taking a 32.97 interest in Jio Platforms.
Reliance Jio had 388 million mobile subscribers at end-March, and aims to have more than half a billion mobile customers and more than a billion smart sensors deployed within the next three years.