Indian operator Reliance Jio Infocomm expects to launch 5G services in the second half of next year, Reliance Industries (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani reportedly said.
Speaking at India Mobile Congress 2020, Ambani said that the solution for the launch of 5G technology will be developed in India.
“I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021. It will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components,” Ambani said.
In July, Ambani confirmed that Jio Platforms engineers had 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.
In October, Jio Platforms announced that it is working with Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions. The two companies announced they were working together to develop open and interoperable interface-compliant architecture-based 5G solutions with a virtualized RAN.
Meanwhile, rival operator Bharti Airtel’s chairman Sunil Mittal said that India will be in a positive to get the full benefits of 5G in two or three years.
“As world settles down on 5G space, pricing of the equipment comes down and importantly the devices start getting available in plentiful, I think India in two-three years’ time will be ready to receive the benefit of the investments that the globe would have made on 5G standard and 5G ecosystems,” Mittal said.
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 previous 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 previously said it will not participate in the auction at the current reserve prices.