Jio prepares to plough $25bn into 5G


The operator says that initial 5G services will be launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai in October

Today, disruptive Indian telco giant Reliance Jio has announced that it will invest $25 billion to rollout a nationwide standalone 5G network by the end of 2023.

Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said that the company would seek to capitalise on the $11 billion-worth of 5G spectrum it acquired at last week’s auction by rolling out the technology as quickly as possible across the country.

The company’s 5G network will initially be rolled out in the major metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by October this year, with nationwide coverage to follow.

“Subsequently, we plan to increase the Jio 5G footprint month after month. By December 2023, which is less than 18 months from today, we will deliver Jio 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil [administrative districts] of our country,” said Ambani. “We will use our combined wireless and wireline assets to cover 3.3 million square kilometres, India’s total land mass, with fibre-quality broadband, connecting even those parts of the country where satellite technology was the only option.”

“Jio 5G services will connect everyone, every place and everything with the highest quality and affordability. We are committed to making India a data powered economy even ahead of China and US,” he added.

In his speech, Ambani also announced the launch of Jio’s AirFiber, a fixed wireless access solution that Jio suggests could be the answer to India’s woefully low fixed broadband penetration rates.

“With single device JioAirFiber, it will be real easy to quickly connect any home or office to Gigabit-speed internet. With the simplicity of JioAirFiber, hundreds of millions of homes and offices can be connected to ultra-high-speed broadband in a very short period. With it, India can rank among the top ten nations, even for fixed broadband,” he explained.

India recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence from British rule on the 15th of October, with many onlookers speculating that Jio – and perhaps rival Bharti Airtel – would be seeking to launch commercial 5G services concurrently. However, both Jio and Airtel missed this date, hence Jio now aligning its launch date with Diwali on October 24th.

Earlier this week, Airtel’s chairman Sunil Mittal also announced that Airtel would seek to launch 5G services in the month of October.

Airtel is expected to launch 5G in 13 cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune – during the first phase of its rollout.

How will the launch of 5G reshape the Indian telecoms industry? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Total Telecom Congress

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