India’s Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani confirmed that the conglomerate’s mobile Jio Platforms engineers designed and developed a “complete 5G system” from scratch.
The executive said that Jio Platforms’ 5G kit will be ready for trials as soon as spectrum is available, with field deployments possible in 2021.
“Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. This will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India, using 100% homegrown technologies and solutions,” Ambani said during the company’s annual general meeting.
Once the 5G equipment is proven in India, Ambani said Jio Platforms will be well-positioned to export the system to other global operators as a complete managed service.
India expects to award spectrum for the provision of 5G next year. The auction will include the sale of almost 8300 megahertz of airwaves, including 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band and 4G spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.
The auction was initially expected to take place in 2020, but the government decided to postpone the process due to the poor financial health of the industry and worries that the reserve price was too high to attract interest.
A recent Finance Ministry recommendation suggested reducing the 5G reserve price of INR4.9 billion ($65.1 million) per MHz to make it more affordable. All Indian service providers, including Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, have asked the government to lower the base price for the spectrum, and especially that of 5G. Airtel said it will not participate in the auction at the current reserve prices.
In related news, Reliance Industries and Jio Platforms announced on July 15 that Google committed to invest INR337 billion ($4.5 billion) in Jio Platforms.
Google’s investment will translate into a 7.73% equity stake in Jio Platforms.
Jio Platforms and Google have also entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm committed to invest INR7.3 billion ($97.1 million) in Jio Platforms with the aim of supporting the Indian firm in the future rollout of 5G services in the Indian market.
Qualcomm Ventures’ investment will translate into 0.15% equity stake in Jio Platforms.
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. Some of the firms that recently invested in the Indian company include Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, KKR, General Atlantic and Intel Capital.