Ericsson, Nokia sign separate multi-year deals with Jio
European telecom gear makers Ericsson and Nokia have signed separate multi-year deals with 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.
Nokia will supply Reliance Jio, which has more than 420 million customers, with 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment in a multi-year deal, the Finnish company said in a statement.
Analysts said the 5G rollout in the country would be much slower than 4G or 3G as the main revenue for the service would be generated from enterprise solutions.
The tie-ups with the equipment makers are meant for areas where enterprises would demand the service.
Retail consumers will be wary of paying a higher price just for speed, they said.
Ericsson’s 5G 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.
This is the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country, according to a release.
“Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO antennas, and Remote Radio Heads to support different spectrum bands, and self-organizing network software,” it said.
5G data speeds in India are expected to be about 10 times faster than those of 4G, with the network seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
Reliance snapped up airwaves worth $11 billion in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction in August and had launched 5G services in select cities. It is also working with Alphabet Inc’s Google to launch a budget 5G smartphone.
As India’s telecom service providers roll out 5G services, the government is also pushing top mobile phone manufacturers, like Apple Inc, Samsung and others to prioritise rolling out software upgrades to support 5G, amid concerns that many of their models are not ready for the high-speed service.
The Reliance-Nokia deal comes at a time some gover nments, including India, have either banned or discouraged the use of China’s Huawei in national networks. “Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of customers,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, said.
Meanwhile, Jio is planning to raise an additional $1.5 billion via external commercial borrowings to fund its 5G capital expenditure plans, reports said.
With inputs from Reuters