Accelerated 5G Deployment by Jio
Reliance Jio Infocomm, a prominent Indian telecom operator, has made significant strides in its 5G rollout, surpassing the deployment of 115,000 sites with over 690,000 5G cells across India. This achievement, announced in the company’s earnings statement, positions Jio as a frontrunner in the country’s 5G expansion.
Extensive Coverage and Advanced Timeline
Jio’s extensive infrastructure has enabled the company to deliver 5G coverage to over 90% of India’s urban areas. Originally slated to complete its 5G rollout by December 2023, Jio is now on track to finish ahead of this target.
Rapid Expansion Using Standalone Architecture
Since October 2022, Jio has been aggressively expanding its 5G network using Standalone (SA) architecture. The operator has already launched 5G services in 6,258 cities across all 36 states, as detailed on the carrier’s website.
Unique Spectrum Holdings
Jio distinguishes itself as the sole Indian operator with access to the 700 MHz low-band spectrum, complemented by additional spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands. This diverse spectrum portfolio underpins its robust 5G rollout.
Major Equipment Deals with Global Vendors
Jio is reportedly on the verge of finalizing a $1.7 billion contract with Finnish vendor Nokia for 5G network equipment. This is in addition to a $2.1 billion deal already in place with Swedish vendor Ericsson.
International Financing for Jio’s 5G Ventures
Several global banks, including HSBC, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, are said to be financing Jio’s 5G equipment acquisitions through syndicated offshore loans. Furthermore, European export credit agency Finnvera is expected to provide guarantees for these loans.
Competitors’ 5G Strategies
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel, Jio’s rival, has opted for Non-Standalone technology (NSA) for its 5G rollout, already reaching thousands of towns and cities. Vodafone Idea is in advanced talks with vendors to finalize its 5G strategy, having completed device testing with major OEMs in Delhi and Pune.
Vodafone Idea’s Funding Efforts
Vodafone Idea has been negotiating with local banks to secure funding necessary for launching its 5G services, highlighting the competitive and rapidly evolving 5G landscape in India.