Reliance Jio takes dig at Airtel and Focuses on 5G lab trials
BARCELONA: Reliance JIO will focus on creating intellectual properties around 5G through engagement with academia and other stakeholders, instead of publicising its “lab trials”, a top executive of the company has said.
“Of course, we could do test beds, but for us it is not just about showcasing and publicising something about 5G. For us, it’s not about the demo, but how do we become realistic to talk about 5G,” Tareq Amin, senior vice-president (technology), at Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries , told ET when asked about rival telecom operator Bharti Airtel’s 5G trials
Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel recently announced a 5G lab test with Huawei, China’s largest (check) maker of telecom equipment, and said it will conduct another lab trial in the second half of this year with ZTE, another Chinese vendor.
“We could do a demo and can get press releases…But we want to enable real technology that delivers right use cases to Indian consumers…Tomorrow, we could easily enable the same demo, but for us, it is not enablement of demos. For us, it is enablement of technologies,” Amin said on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress here.
Amin said Jio has a start over India’s older operators in terms of readiness for 5G, given its legacy-free, pure 4G LTE network. Older rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular run 2G and 3G services on what are called legacy networks, besides 4G services.
Bharti Airtel works with several vendors, including Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE, for deploying radio and network technologies, and has also been getting into agreements with these vendors around 5G, seeking to define a path towards the new technology which is expected to go commercial by 2019 in some parts of the world. In India, 5G is expected to be introduced a year later.
“The announcement I would like to see would say an Indian company, in partnership with suppliers, has incubated some ideas to develop a product in India itself, and that’s impactful,” Jio’s Amin said.
According to Amin, for the 5G technology, Jio is engaging directly with universities to create use cases and intellectual properties (IP), which will bring differentiation.
He said that existing telcos need to kick off the fundamental transformation to get their entire network to the IP infrastructure. “This fundamental transformation would have to happen in networks, and we don’t have to deal with this network transformation (since Jio is already a pure 4G LTE network),” Amin said.
Jagbir Singh, group chief technology officer at Reliance Jio, said the carrier can overnight change its 250,000 routers through a software change to deliver 10 Gbps speed from 1 Gbps now. He said Jio is ensuring that towers are fibrised and the telco has enough fibre to lay a strong foundation for the 5G technology in India.
“We are ensuring that all ingredients of 5G infrastructure are there. We are fully getting ready as and when the spectrum comes and technology matures, and devices come in the market – we can switch on overnight,” Singh said.