New Delhi- Reliance Jio, the nation’s biggest telecom firm, will expand 5G telephony services offering ultra high-speed internet connectivity to every part of the country by December 2023, its chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Saturday.
Jio had in September 2016 made an entry into the telecom sector, offering free voice calls and dirt-cheap data, forcing the competition to either match or fold up/consolidate.
Ambani has now promised affordable 5G services.
“Today, I want to reiterate Jio’s commitment to deliver 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil of our country by December 2023,” he said at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) conference here.
Ambani had at his flagship Reliance Industries Ltd’s annual shareholder meeting in August announced the rollout of 5G services across multiple key cities, including metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, by Diwali.
Most of Jio’s 5G is developed in India, and hence carries the stamp of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, he said, adding 5G and 5G-enabled digital solutions can bring affordable and high-quality education and skill development within the reach of common Indians.
It can deliver high-quality healthcare to rural and remote areas by turning existing hospitals into smart hospitals without much additional investment, making the services of the best doctors digitally available anywhere in India as well as improving the speed and accuracy of diagnostics and enabling real-time clinical decision making.
5G can also bridge the gap between urban and rural India by accelerating digitisation and intelligent data management of agriculture, services, trade, industry, informal sector, transportation and energy infrastructure, he said.
“By bringing AI into every domain, 5G can power India’s emergence as the world’s intelligence capital. This will help India become a major exporter of high-value digital solutions and services,” he said, adding all these will trigger a huge explosion of entrepreneurship in the country, which in turn will attract even larger investments and create millions of new jobs.
Ambani said by harnessing the combined power of demography and digital technologies, India can become the world’s leading digital society, accelerating growth by making the country a USD 40 trillion economy by 2047, up from USD 3 trillion now and increasing per capita income rapidly to over USD 20,000, from USD 2,000.
“It will not be an exaggeration to say that 5G is like a Digital Kamadhenu, the heavenly cow that grants whatever we desire,” he said.
With 5G, India will take longer and faster strides towards ‘Sab Ka Digital Saath and Sab Ka Digital Vikas’, he said. “India may have started a little late, but we’ll finish first by rolling out 5G services that are of higher quality and more affordable than anywhere else in the world.”
Ambani further said 5G is much more than just the next generation of connectivity technology, offering foundational technology that unlocks the full potential of other transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things, robotics, blockchain, and metaverse.
Speaking to reporters later, Ambani said Jio’s 5G services will be launched by Diwali, but did not comment on tariffs. The company’s 5G services will be affordable, he said, adding “Jio is always affordable”.
“Today is a historic day where as a country we started 5G, and I am very grateful to the PM for his Digital India vision… We have implemented his vision and I think this is really a new era in terms of connectivity, and what the PM has outlined, we in the telecom industry will work together to achieve this and make India and Indian connectivity ecosystem best in the world and the most affordable in the world,” Ambani said.
Airtel Announces Launch Of 5G Service In 8 Cities
Bharti Airtel’s 5G service will be available in eight cities from Saturday, its chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said at India Mobile Congress.
With this, Bharti Airtel has become the first company to launch 5G services in the country.
“When you (Prime Minister) will launch 5G today. 5G from Airtel will be available in 8 cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore and other cities,” Mittal said.
He also said that Airtel will roll out 5G services in several cities across the country by March 2023 and across India by March 2024.
Mittal lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s understanding of technology and connecting it with the nation’s progress.
“We are proud and very fortunate that we have amongst us a leader who understands technology meticulously. Many leaders appreciate technology but its granular understanding and linking it for the progress of the country, according to me what Modi Ji can do no one else will be able to do,” he said.
He also acknowledged the contribution of Reliance Industries Limited chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani to the growth of 4G.
“I would like to remind Mukesh (Ambani) when he gave a lot of pace to 4G and we had run very fast to catch up with it. When COVID hit, the pulse of this nation did not stop even for a minute. Our work continued round the clock and its credit goes to Digital Mission,” Mittal said.
He said that the Prime Minister gave the slogan of startups, which led to the creation of unicorns every month.
“I believe that with 5G hundreds of used cases will create thousands of entrepreneurs and dozens of new unicorns,” he said.
According to a senior company official, Airtel 5G services will be available at existing 4G rates and a new tariff for 5G will be announced after some time.
The officer said the 5G services are also being launched in Chennai, Hyderabad and Siliguri.
Bharti Airtel Chief Technology Officer Randeep Singh Sekhon said that the company’s backend infrastructure is ready.
“We need to install some equipment on mobile towers for 5G service. We are doing it gradually. As of today, the service will be available in the area close to towers where the equipment has been installed,” Sekhon added.
He said every day Airtel is adding new cities for 5G services and increasing penetration within cities.
“People need to have 5G phones to access the service, which is being launched today,” Sekhon said.
Bharti Airtel had placed the order for 5G gears with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung immediately after the auctions were over.
The Sunil Mittal-led firm recently acquired 19,867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands, bolstering its spectrum holding.
Bharti Airtel acquired spectrum worth Rs 43,084 crore in the just-concluded auction. (PTI)