New Delhi, October 17
European telecom gear makers Ericsson and Nokia on Monday separately announced bagging contracts from India’s largest telecom operator Reliance Jio to build a mega 5G network.
The announcements — neither divulged the deal sizes — came amid large network deployments across the country for 5G services, the next-generation technology that promises ultra-high internet speeds, lag-free connectivity, and new-age applications.
Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson announced a long-term strategic 5G contract with Reliance Jio to roll out a 5G standalone (SA) network in the country.
Ericsson’s energy-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions from Ericsson Radio System and E-band microwave mobile transport solution will be deployed in the 5G network for Jio, the equipment company said in a statement.
All products and solutions are deployed on new-build 5G SA networks, designed to maximize the benefits of 5G to communications service providers and their customers, be it individual subscribers or enterprise and industry customers. This is the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country, according to a release.
Akash Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Jio, said, “We are confident that Jio’s 5G network will accelerate India’s digitalization and will serve as the foundation for achieving our nation’s ‘Digital India’ vision”.
Jio’s Standalone 5G network deployment marks a “technology leap” since it modernises the network infrastructure to deliver a truly transformative 5G experience to consumers and enterprises, the release said.
Borje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, noted that India is building a world-class digital infrastructure that will drive innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship across the country.
“We are happy to partner with Jio in those ambitions, through Ericsson 5G Standalone connectivity, which will be a major catalyst in meeting those digital transformation goals across society, enterprise and industry,” Ekholm said.
Separately, the Finnish company Nokia said it has won a multi-year deal from Reliance Jio to build one of the largest 5G networks in the world.
Under the contract, Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) antennas, and Remote Radio Heads (RRH) to support different spectrum bands, and self-organising network software .
Reliance Jio plans to deploy a 5G standalone network which will interwork with its 4G network. The network will enable Jio to deliver advanced 5G services such as massive machine-to-machine communications, network slicing, and ultra-low-latency.
“Nokia today announced that it has been selected as a major supplier by Reliance Jio to supply 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio countrywide in a multi-year deal,” the company said in a release.
“Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of all of its customers. We are confident that our partnership with Nokia will deliver one of the most advanced 5G networks globally,” Jio’s Akash Ambani was quoted as saying in the Nokia statement.
Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia termed the deal a “significant win” in an important market.
“This ambitious project will introduce millions of people across India to premium 5G services, enabled by our industry-leading AirScale portfolio. We are proud that Reliance Jio has placed its trust in our technology and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with them,” Lundmark said.
Nokia has a long-standing presence in India. With this deal, Nokia will be a supplier to India’s three largest mobile operators.
Earlier this month, Jio announced it will start the beta trial of 5G services in four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi from October 5 with a select set of customers.
Meanwhile, top mobile phone makers, including Apple and Samsung, have said they will upgrade the software for their 5G-enabled phones in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 1 launched 5G services amid much fanfare, with leading telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio outlining plans for the rollout of the services in a select few cities.
But most users in those select cities haven’t yet got smooth 5G services, leading to a blame game – telecom operators blame the delay in smartphone companies pushing out required software patches over the air, and the handset manufacturers cite patchy infrastructure.
With 5G not just enabling faster internet but also holding the promise of rapid economic progress and boosting job creation, the government wants the companies to get cracking now. And many companies have started falling in line—smartphone players have committed specific timelines for upgrading the software for their 5G-enabled phones.