The Chronicles of 5G deployment in India : News and Updates

Gautam

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I wonder why BSNL is bothering about rolling out 4G network when world is moving to 5G ?
Are they flush with extra cash or just shortsightedness?
Tech Mahindra is promising a 4G network that is upgradable to 5G with most of the critical component manufacturing done in India. BSNL got a bail out from the GoI & some additional cash to upgrade from 3G to 4G. They want to get 4G & later upgrade it to 5G.
 

AbRaj

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Tech Mahindra is promising a 4G network that is upgradable to 5G with most of the critical component manufacturing done in India. BSNL got a bail out from the GoI & some additional cash to upgrade from 3G to 4G. They want to get 4G & later upgrade it to 5G.
My question is why burn the bailout money on 4G when everybody else is deploying 5G. I think waiting few more months and saving unnecessary expanses is more wise for a cash strapped company like BSNL.
As it’s highly unlikely that switching to 5G will be like switching on the Bulb.
Specially when in all probability we will get 5G before BSNL can rollout 4G.
 
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Gautam

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My question is why burn the bailout money on 4G when everybody else is deploying 5G. I think waiting few more months and saving unnecessary expanses is more wise for a cash strapped company like BSNL.
What's the problem with burning cash if its not your hard earned cash ? The money they got for bail out was from GoI.
As it’s highly unlikely that switching to 5G will be like switching on the Bulb.
There are problems with being early movers too. Jio, Airtel etc were early movers into 4G. The hardware they use was made long before 5G was even defined. BSNL is likely going to get hardware that can work on both 4G & 5G frequency ranges. They cannot legally use 5G frequencies without spectrum allocation. But hardware/software wont be a problem.

In fact the network management will be major issue. Why ? Because 4G/5G are highly automated network systems, thus maintaining it will require much less manpower. If BSNL is to maintain an efficient corporate structure then a lot of redundant stuff would have to be fired. Do you think they can do that ? I don't think so. In all likeliness, they will retain unnecessary manpower & spend a lot on them rather than move to 5G. This is why I doubt BSNL would move to 5G at all.
Specially when in all probability we will get 5G before BSNL can rollout 4G.
I does look like that. I wonder what the headlines would say when BSNL finally launches 4G.
 
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AbRaj

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What's the problem with burning cash if its not your hard earned cash ? The money they got for bail out was from GoI.

There are problems with being early movers too. Jio, Airtel etc were early movers into 4G. The hardware they use was made long before 5G was even defined. BSNL is likely going to get hardware that can work on both 4G & 5G frequency ranges. They cannot legally use 5G frequencies without spectrum allocation. But hardware/software wont be a problem.

In fact the network management will be major issue. Why ? Because 4G/5G are highly automated network systems, thus maintaining it will require much less manpower. If BSNL is to maintain an efficient corporate structure then a lot of redundant stuff would have to be fired. Do you think they can do that ? I don't think so. In all likeliness, they will retain unnecessary manpower & spend a lot on them rather than move to 5G. This is why I doubt BSNL would move to 5G at all.

I does look like that. I wonder what the headlines would say when BSNL finally launches 4G.
Because GOI’s money is mine and I don’t like anybody to waste my money.
Lets say today I plan to buy a smartphone. I will look for a 5G smartphone even though 5G has not been launched yet specially when my current smartphone is working just fine even though it is very outdated by current standerds.
Isn’t it commen sense.
 
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vvabhiram

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Do I need a 5G mobile phone to connect to 5G network ? Does the existing 4G mobile phones work with 5G network?

Even on 4G network, I am getting speeds of 2-10 Mbps when 4G network is capable of providing 100 Mbps. Consider, 5G is deployed all over India and I am still using 4G mobile phone. By using this device can I be able to connect to 5G network and get speed of 100 Mbps ?
 

AbRaj

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Do I need a 5G mobile phone to connect to 5G network ? Does the existing 4G mobile phones work with 5G network?

Even on 4G network, I am getting speeds of 2-10 Mbps when 4G network is capable of providing 100 Mbps. Consider, 5G is deployed all over India and I am still using 4G mobile phone. By using this device can I be able to connect to 5G network and get speed of 100 Mbps ?
If your device has 5G radio you will be able to receive 5G signal. Simple
 
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Gautam

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Thread :


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Jio, Qualcomm begin 5G trials, achieve over 1 Gbps speed


Updated: 20 Oct 2020, 09:58 PM IST
By Staff Writer
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Highlights:
  • This work is intended to fast track the development and roll out of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India
  • 'This achievement not only supports Jio’s 5G credentials but also signifies the entry of Jio and India into the Gigabit 5G NR product portfolio,' the company said in a statement

Reliance Industries' Jio Platforms Limited (Jio) and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. along with its wholly owned subsidiary Radisys Corporation today announced their expanded efforts for 5G network solutions. This work is intended to fast track the development and roll out of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India.

The announcement came during a virtual 5G summit today

Qualcomm and Jio also announced that they achieved over a 1 Gbps speed during the trials on the Jio 5GNR solution, leveraging the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platforms. "This achievement not only supports Jio’s 5G credentials but also signifies the entry of Jio and India into the Gigabit 5G NR product portfolio," the company said in a statement.

Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance Jio Infocomm, said, “The development of secure RAN solutions with Qualcomm Technologies combined with Jio Platforms and scale provides the ideal combination for local manufacturing and for accelerating the realization of Atmanirbhar Bharat for an inclusive 5G nation."

Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., said, “Ecosystem collaborations like this play a critical role in allowing operators and industry verticals to quickly and easily add 5G network coverage and capacity where and when it is needed most."

With 5G technology, users will experience the benefits of higher data rates, low latency communications and enhanced digital experiences across a wide array of connected devices, from 5G-enabled smartphones to enterprise laptops to AR/VR products to vertical IOT solutions.

Reliance Industries' Chairman Mukesh Ambani, at RIL’s 43rd annual general meeting in July, had said, “Jio has developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. This will enable us to launch a world class 5G service in India using a 100% homegrown technology and solution".

RIL had earlier said that Qualcomm Ventures' investment would deepen the ties between Qualcomm and Jio Platforms to support the latter on its journey to rollout advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers.

Until now, Jio Platforms has raised ₹1.52 trillion from investors such as Google, Inc. and Facebook in just four months this year to achieve its digital goals. Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated, has also invested ₹730 crore in Jio Platforms for a 0.15 % stake.

The latest progress on the 5G product portfolio neatly dovetails into Jio's overall plans to develop homegrown 5G telecom solutions, as was outlined by Reliance Industries' Chairman Mukesh Ambani at the company's annual general meeting in July this year.


@_Anonymous_ @Ashwin @randomradio @Sathya et al.....
 

_Anonymous_

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Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated, has also invested ₹730 crore in Jio Platforms for a 0.15 % stake.
This is typically how Ambani operates. Instead of paying up his vendors, he gives them a stake & collects money from them. That's what a Modh baniya is all about. He's just raised the bar for other entrepreneurial baniyas.It's not for nothing he's the richest man of India.

@Milspec ; @Nilgiri
 

Bali78

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Dec 26, 2017
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My question is why burn the bailout money on 4G when everybody else is deploying 5G. I think waiting few more months and saving unnecessary expanses is more wise for a cash strapped company like BSNL.
As it’s highly unlikely that switching to 5G will be like switching on the Bulb.
Specially when in all probability we will get 5G before BSNL can rollout 4G.
Because GOI’s money is mine and I don’t like anybody to waste my money.
Lets say today I plan to buy a smartphone. I will look for a 5G smartphone even though 5G has not been launched yet specially when my current smartphone is working just fine even though it is very outdated by current standerds.
Isn’t it commen sense.
Actually it will be wise to buy a 4G smartphone as of today. First of all 4G provides enough bandwidth for most practical applications. The major difference between 4G and 5G from bandwidth prospective comes from 24-39 GHz band which has serious limitations due to high attenuation and will take years before it’s fully deployed. Basically 5G is just a buzzword which has practically no usage, but is a lifeline for companies like Qualcomm.
 
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Gautam

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Jio-Qualcomm 5G tech deal is bad news for China

The agreement marks a significant step forward in India’s advance towards becoming the pivot around which global developments on 5G take place


Last Updated : Oct 22, 2020 12:12 PM IST
By Sumali Moitra
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The tie-up between Reliance Jio and Qualcomm announced on October 21 is noteworthy at several levels. Its importance does not simply lie in the arrangement likely fast-tracking the realisation of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by strengthening the five pillars — economy, infrastructure, technology-driven system, vibrant demography, and demand — that are to form the basis for creating an economically self-reliant India.

At a deeper level, the alliance between the Reliance Industries subsidiary and the San Diego-based semiconductor giant marks a significant milestone in the journey of Indian telecom towards emerging as a global leader in advanced 5G technologies. This signals to the rest of the world — especially the developed West — that India can now act as the pivot around which, going forward, all global 5G-related developments could take place. This is also a signal to India’s eastern neighbour China which has always been doubtful of India’s ability to make it big on its own steam in the hi-tech arena.

At a time, when much of the world is struggling to find an effective way to leverage the power of 5G, its roll-out in India next year — whose likelihood has increased through the Jio-Qualcomm deal — could hold vital lessons for decision-makers internationally on how this could be done in a manner that benefits people across socio-economic spectrums. What’s more important here is that this has been achieved without any involvement Chinese companies.

Over the years, China has managed to convince many countries that nothing can move in the technological world without it being part of the process. Beijing has often made it a point to stress on this dominant position.

In such a scenario, the Jio-Qualcomm deal is a bold statement made by two world-class companies of their intent to curb the Chinese aim to act as the controller of everything connected with 5G. Hopefully, this will help the Chinese to be more accommodative, in future, of the views and concerns of other countries.

Hitting Where It Hurts Most

A successful 5G roll-out in India on the back of indigenous technologies could hit the Chinese where it hurts most — the money it earns through being the global supplier of sundry telecom equipment. Once other countries witness what the Jio-Qualcomm arrangement has succeeded in doing in India, they would also be emboldened to display greater spine while dealing with China in aspects related to purchase of hardware from Chinese companies, some of which are believed to be closely associated or even an extended arm of the communist party in China.

The indigenous 5G development will embolden more nations to question China’s indispensability in this sector — this, in turn, will make China more accommodative in its trade dealings. If things move in this direction, one must not be surprised if Beijing’s seemingly intransigent stand in border issues with India move towards resolution.

Boost For ‘Make in India’

What could be China’s loss in terms of business could be India’s gain if the Jio-Qualcomm alliance is able to meet its potential of offering the people of this country a telecom solution that would allow every citizen, irrespective of their socio-economic background, to hop on to the digital highway.

The whole world would flock towards this ‘Made in India’ 5G solution if this hope is to turn into a reality. Jio’s success could lead to the creation of millions of good quality jobs in India, earn precious foreign exchange, and provide huge momentum to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

In many ways Reliance Jio’s achievement is symbolic of a new India that is not afraid to dream big and work hard to realise it.

 
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Gautam

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Reliance Jio To Roll Out Cheapest 5G Enabled Smartphones Priced At INR 5K


By Harshit Rakheja
21 Oct 2020
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Highlights :

  • Last month, Jio and Google were reportedly planning to roll out 100 million low-cost 4G-enabled smartphones bundled with Jio data packs.
  • Reliance Jio’s telecom network doesn’t support older network technologies such as 2G and 3G.
  • Since 2017, the company has been selling low-cost feature phone JioPhone bundled with Jio’s 4G data packs, to help users transition from 2G/3G to 4G.

No one knows when the 5G spectrum will be made available in India. However, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani isn’t plagued by uncertainty about the timeline. At Reliance’s 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in July this year, he emphatically announced that Reliance had developed a "Made in India" 5G network solution and that it would be ready to export the technology after a successful trial in India.

According to a PTI report, Reliance, through its telecom venture Jio, is planning to roll out 5G enabled smartphones at an initial price of around INR 5,000, which will be subsequently lowered to around INR 2,500 as production scales up. The cheapest 5G-enabled smartphones currently available in India are priced at around INR 27,000.

This week, Reliance began the trials for its 5G technology along with US-based Qualcomm and claims to have achieved a speed of one gigabyte (GB) per second. 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks, meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and more uniform user experience to users.

Last month, Inc42 reported that Jio and Google — which owns a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms — were planning to roll out 100 million low-cost 4G-enabled smartphones bundled with Jio data packs in the market by December this year or early January next year. At the Reliance AGM, Ambani had announced that both Jio and Google would collaborate for building a low-cost 4G or possibly 5G-enabled smartphone for the Indian users, at a fraction of its current cost. He had added that to power such a “value-engineered smartphone, we also need an equally value-engineered smartphone operating system (OS).” He had announced that Google and Jio would partner to build an Android-based smartphone OS.

According to reports, the manufacturing for these smartphones will be outsourced to Indian vendors. And while the new phones would be bundled with Jio’s 4G data packs, it is likely that the phones would be compatible with 5G technology, thus ensuring users’ seamless transition from Jio’s 4G to 5G telecom network when the superior spectrum becomes available in India.

Reliance Jio’s telecom network doesn’t support older network technologies such as 2G and 3G. Hence, the company is continually occupied in a bid to ease customers’ transition from older technologies to newer ones such as the prevalent 4G mobile network. Since 2017, the company has been doing this by rolling out low-cost 4G-enabled JioPhone mobile handsets bundled with Jio data packs, in prices ranging from INR 1-2K.

While Jio is the market leader in the Indian telecom sector with an around 34% market share, it is trying to gain access to a significant number of users, estimated to be around 200-300 Mn, who still use 2G and 3G mobile networks.

The company claims that the sale of JioPhones — feature phones with limited functionality compared to smartphones — has helped it in acquiring users for Jio’s 4G network. Since July 5, 50% of the new subscriber additions on Reliance Jio’s network have come from JioPhone. The phones have helped the company in its bid of making a “2G-mukt Bharat”, a phrase coined by Ambani during this year’s AGM.

It seems that Reliance is planning to adopt the same strategy, of bundling JioPhones with Jio data packs, for quickening users’ transition from 4G to 5G, as and when the superior network is introduced in India. At this year’s AGM, Ambani said that the company had sold 25 million JioPhones.

Reliance Scrambles For Quick 5G Rollout

A few days after the Reliance AGM in July, the company reached out to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the 5G spectrum, despite there being no official announcement for a 5G spectrum auction by the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI).

According to a Business Standard report, Reliance Jio had applied for 800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum each in both the millimetres — 26 gigahertz (GHz) and 24 GHz — wave mmWave band as well as 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band for field trials in few metro cities. If the trials are successful, India would join a select group of countries that are in the position to sell their own 5G networking technology globally.

 
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Gautam

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Airtel's dramatic strategy shift: Developing local 5G gear ecosystem via own R&D and US, Japanese partners


Bharti Airtel is developing 5G network technologies in India through own R&D and in collaboration with local, US and Japanese firms, underlining a dramatic shift in the mobile phone operator’s strategy, which will see it develop its own intellectual property rights (IPR), as against depending on third-party equipment vendors.

By Danish Khan
ET Telecom
Updated: October 21, 2020, 10:26 IST
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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel is developing 5G network technologies in India through own R&D and in collaboration with local, US and Japanese firms, underlining a dramatic shift in the mobile phone operator’s strategy, which will see it develop its own intellectual property (IP), as against depending on third-party equipment vendors.

A top executive told ET that Airtel is not just developing technology for 5G, home broadband, Internet of Things (IoT) and other wireline products in India, but is also aiming to locally produce the equipment through contract manufacturers like US's Flex and India's Tejas Networks.


“We want to work with technology partners to co-develop India specific hardware and software products. Easy to deploy in India and also export to similar markets. The IPR of design of these products will be with Airtel, which we can offer to other telcos,” the executive said.

A complete local 5G ecosystem and own capability to develop telecom gear will allow Airtel to have a better control over the supply chain and reduce overall network deployment costs by looking beyond traditional vendors that charge premium for their products and technology, analysts said.

Airtel is currently in the process of signing commercial pacts with its partners for its 5G ecosystem, the executive said.

This comes at a time when bitter rival Reliance Jio has said it is developing its own end-to-end 5G technology, and has highlighted its ‘Make in India’ credentials. While Jio has said it wants to first deploy and scale up in India, and then take its technology to other telcos in the markets of Africa, West Asia and Eastern Europe, the Airtel executive said the telco also plans to initially take its 5G and other network technologies to markets like Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka through its own and partner operations, and plans to offer to other telcos going forward.

The company though believes India can wait until 2022 for 5G, by which time the ecosystem, including handsets and India-specific use cases, will be more developed. The government is planning to hold spectrum auctions sometime in 2021.

Under its Make in India strategy, Airtel is planning to bring a large ecosystem of partners including US’s Mavenir, Xilinx and Altiostar (part owned by Japan’s Rakuten), Japan’s NEC and Taiwan’s Sercom that will help the telco develop equipment using OpenRAN technology. In addition, its existing traditional partner Ericsson and Nokia have agreed to provide only locally-made 5G gear to the telco.

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OpenRAN as a concept enables hardware and software to be dis-aggregated, unlike conventional radio gears, allowing technology products from different suppliers to co-exist with the various software providers, and reduce costs for telcos. OpenRAN allows more customization of the network architecture and capabilities creating opportunities for new business lines and improving customer experience, analysts said.

"With the advent of OpenRAN and open technologies, this clearly shows the way forward for leading telcos across the globe. One one hand, it will deliver cost saving, greater control over future technical architecture, supply chain effectiveness, it will also help further make in India vision of the country," Rohan Dhamija, a partner at Analysys Mason said.

"...this also shows the emergence of new American and Japanese players that have driven the OpenRAN ecosystem to provide a stiff competition to traditional vendors like Nokia and Ericsson," Dhamija added.

“India has largely been dependent on the Chinese supply chain because they make the cheapest gear but because of the Open technologies, it is now also possible to disintegrate telecom hardware and software and make it via partners or on your own... we want to ensure that the final end point of manufacturing is India and gear that we develop here is global technology so that it can be exported to the world,” the official said.

Airtel is currently in talks with US-based Flex to make 5G gear and home-bred Tejas Networks for wireline products. It is asking its partners like Nokia, Ciena and Cisco to locally produce crucial core and transport equipment. “One of them has agreed to locally manufacture IP and optical products,” the executive said.

“We have already de-risked the geopolitical issues... now, we are really interested in India’s role in the telecom ecosystem… it is time for the country and Airtel to participate at the global level. That’s what Chinese companies did and owned the tech agenda… everybody needs to do it,” the executive said.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco recently produced its own 4G small cells by collaborating with Altiostar and Sercom. After seeing the success, the company has now diverted its focus on just 5G gear, including radio, small cells, routers and massive MIMO.

“We have set up two R&D labs in Bangalore and Manesar for 5G and other future tech… The investment in these labs is already running into hundreds of crores and the company will scale this up,” the executive said. Airtel currently has around 100 of its own engineers working at these labs, along with a few hundred local engineers of Altiostar and Mavenir.

Despite investing and focusing heavily on OpenRAN and other open technologies for developing 5G gear, Airtel will continue its relationship with traditional European vendors Nokia and Ericsson.

Globally, all big telcos like Verizon, Vodafone Group and Telefonica are on board to drive innovation around OpenRAN through various forums, which means it is not a geography-specific trend.

“They [European vendors] will eventually adopt open technologies like OpenRAN. They are fence-sitters right now due to competition and existing commercial base, but the change is imminent. OpenRAN will become mainstream,” the executive said.


That's it then. The future of telecom in India will be built on the O-RAN architecture. Airtel needed this to compete with Jio. If Jio owns their network IP, they can do things that Airtel can't do with 3rd party vendor gear.
 

Gautam

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Senior advocate Harish Salve offers Reliance Jio’s fibre prowess for a nation-wide network


CJI Bobde said the court was initially thinking of asking the government to set aside a dedicated satellite — as their prices had come down substantially — but was advised that fibre optics is better for video conferencing and exchanging data.

By Samanwaya Rautray
ET Bureau
Updated: October 27, 2020, 16:49 IST


NEW DELHI: Senior advocate Harish Salve offered Reliance Jio’s expertise and fibre optics network to the Supreme Court on Monday as Chief Justice of India SA Bobde called for a dedicated nation-wide fibre optics network to ensure seamless connectivity in virtual courts throughout the country.

Before the government could offer any solution, Jio, through senior advocate Harish N Salve, offered Jio’s fibre optics network and expertise to the court. “We have the best fibre optics network,” he said. The CJI-led bench would only direct him to approach the court’s e-committee formally. The e-committee is headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

The committee is exploring ways and means to further use technology to boost the switch from physical courts to virtual courts during the pandemic. Many of the measures will, however, become integral to the process in the long-run. Even after the pandemic, virtual courts may not be completely dismantled and may go co-exist with physical courts. For now, the top court is using an app known as Vidyo for video-conferencing.

Different high courts on the other hand use different modes such as WhatsApp calls, Vidyo and Zoom etc. The top court wants to make it one seamless integrated structure. CJI Bobde said the court was initially thinking of asking the government to set aside a dedicated satellite — as their prices had come down substantially — but was advised that fibre optics is better for video conferencing and exchanging data.

Justice Chandrachud sought financial commitment from the government, through AG KK Venugopal and SG Tushar Mehta. “It is minuscule compared to the government budget,” he said. The issue of live-streaming also came in during this debate on video-conferencing before a special bench. The AG backed live streaming of all court proceedings the day Gujarat High Court began live streaming all proceedings.

The CJI said the bench was conscious of the pitfalls of such an exercise but a plan was being chalked out to ensure staggered streaming to prevent any eventuality during any live telecast. Both lawyers and the bench agreed though that the media ought to be kept out of the physical courts as they crowd the corridors, and must be given links to access proceedings virtually. “The press must have access to output, not inputs,” the CJI commented cryptically.

 
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BT Buzz: How Reliance Jio is building its 5G story brick-by-brick

Jio, for the uninitiated, is building its 5G solutions on a new global initiative called O-RAN (Open RAN) instead of the proprietary networks provided by Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and others


By Manu Kaushik | October 27, 2020 | Updated 12:38 IST
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Jio is building its 5G solutions on a new global initiative called O-RAN (Open RAN)

Last week was crucial for Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, and the global telecommunications industry. The largest telecom firm Jio announced that it's expanding the partnership with US-based wireless tech firm Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions. Jio's official statement also said that Qualcomm and Jio have achieved over 1 Gbps (gigabits) on the Jio 5GNR solution using Qualcomm's 5G RAN Platforms.

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This is the second big move from Jio towards building its own 5G solutions after this year's announcement by Ambani on the telco's 5G foray. "I have great pride in announcing that Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch...This made-in-India 5G solution will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year...Once Jio's 5G solution is proven at India-scale, Jio Platforms would be well positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally, as a complete managed service," Ambani said in 2020 AGM (annual general meeting).

Jio, for the uninitiated, is building its 5G solutions on a new global initiative called O-RAN (Open RAN). Unlike the proprietary networks provided by Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and others, the O-RAN networks are open and include elements from different vendors. So if a network includes broadly two components - hardware and software - both can come from different set of vendors.

Jio, for instance, had bought US-based software vendor Radisys over two years ago because it has system integration and network virtualisation capabilities. Experts say that Jio has strengths on the software side and it needs to put together hardware components in place - either through alliances or acquisitions - and the Qualcomm partnership is exactly on those lines.

"Because of Open RAN, it's possible for Jio to build, design and integrate its own network. They become more like a system integrator - buying multiple elements of the network like radio from one vendor, antenna from another vendor and software from third person. Some they can develop in-house," says Neil Shah, partner at Counterpoint Research.

The Time is Right

The genesis of O-RAN can be traced back to Japanese telecom operator Rakuten Mobile. As the story goes, the company was purchasing branded routers from large companies for $1,000 apiece. The same router would cost a household consumer $50 apiece. The company asked engineers to compare enterprise and consumer-grade routers, and found out that there was hardly any difference. Rakuten thought that it can go to China, buy components and develop routers with its own specifications. Then it started thinking on a bigger scale - how to build telecom networks where they have control over everything - costs, components, maintenance, etc.

Today, the telco has developed a platform - RCP (Rakuten Communications Platform), a first of its kind - which has the secret recipe on how to integrate all parts of an open network together, and it is licensing this platform to other operators.

But it would not have been easy for Rakuten, and other operators like Jio, US-based Dish Network, to build their own 5G network. Their ambitions, to a great extent, have been helped by the large-scale changes in the global telecom network ecosystem. How ?

The networks of the future - 5G, 6G and onwards - are going to be highly automated. What does that mean ? They will be completely virtualised and cloud-driven. Let's take an example. Till about 1990s, an affluent household would need a lot of hardware for work and recreational purposes. This included camera, landline phone, a computer, music devices, video player, et al. When the smartphones came along, all these devices turned into an app. Everything became software-driven and they are now supported by cloud tech.

A similar change is happening in the telecom network space. In a 2G/3G cell tower, there are antennas, transceivers, control circuitry, GPS receiver, power source, etc. The telcos would need to put a lot of boxes to make a network work. But as we evolve from 2G to 3G to 4G and 5G, the number of hardware devices has been reducing at every stage.

"The entire network is transitioning from maximum hardware to more software. In 5G, base station has just antenna. The data processing (how to connect, how much speed to allot, how to hand over call from one tower to another) is entirely done in the cloud. It's not done in the equipments at the tower. With the power of cloudification, SDN (software-defined networking) and virtualisation, the role of hardware is going to be minimal. Telcos just have to invest in RAN (radio access network)," says a telecom analyst.

It helps telcos like Jio in two ways: They don't have to get locked in to multi-year contracts with Nokias, Ericssons or Huaweis of the world. Instead, they can do mix and match, and buy the best in the market to build own network. It is likely that Jio will buy white label solutions from someone like Fujitsu in Japan or Comba Telecom in China. There are a lot of different players who supply hardware for O-RAN. Think of this like Qualcomm and Apple. While Qualcomm is way ahead of Apple in chipsets but Apple putting together different pieces, including best chipsets, to produce widely-popular devices.

Secondly, the telcos gain on opex and capex costs. As per brokerage UBS, Jio's self-built 5G solutions could bring down network rollout cost by 10-15 per cent as compared to legacy networks, and open up $10 billion export opportunities for the telco.

For Jio, there's an additional advantage because of its Greenfield 4G network which means that the telco doesn't have 2G/3G baggage like incumbents (Vodafone Idea and Airtel). That makes it easier for Jio to upgrade from 4G to 5G because most of the things are virtualised and app-based, and the telco would just have to add 5G towers with advanced antennas.

The Challenges

Yet, executing its 5G strategy would take more than putting the pieces together. There are challenges galore for Jio. The biggest of all is to deploy its O-RAN network at a scale. The open interfaces in an O-RAN network do allow Jio to bring down costs, but since the model is still at a nascent stage globally, Jio cannot risk its vast customer base.

For instance, there's reportedly just one live O-RAN network (of Rakuten) that caters to about 3 million users in four cities, and too in a market where fiberisation is high. Jio, on the other hand, has over 400 million users. Ideally, experts say, Jio should not go entirely with O-RAN because it's still unproven at its scale. "Jio has to be prudent because if they bring 10 different vendors and integrate. For whatever reasons, if one vendor breaks off, who will support the network ? They should go with 50 per cent branded network," says an industry consultant.

Despite the growth of independent vendors in the telecom space, many elements of a telecom network still remains protected by IPs (intellectual property), particularly on the radio side. Radio part is how a phone connects to the network. A lot of algorithms are built into the radios by Ericsson, Huawei, and others who are generations ahead of O-RAN players in terms of specifications and performance. Now these companies have substantially invested in 5G IPs, and they would be seeking ROI (return on investment) on their research and development.

"While we will see a greater level of a shift to software and cloudification in the 5G era, the Intellectual Property could be a potential hanging sword, considering most of the RAN and 5G signaling-level IP is owned by a few big players which could put pressure on the O-RAN hardware suppliers moving forward. As the O-RAN ecosystem grows and adoption increases, the issues around IP infringement could also crop up which could slow down the adoption," says Counterpoint Research's Shah.

While there's no official date from Jio for launching its "complete 5G solutions", and despite the rise in anti-China sentiments which will likely tilt the balance in favour of new players, the telco is still some time away from grabbing a share in the $80-billion-a-year telecom equipment export market.

 

AbRaj

Well-Known member
Dec 6, 2017
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Republic of Wadiya
To much limelight on Jio these days. Meanwhile Airtel is best in service by miles and upgrading the network (4G and Fibre) at rapid pace. Long time Airtel customer here (both wireless and broadband) and they never disappointed me when its comes to quality and reliable service.
 
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Gautam

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DoT-ISRO in talks for mmWave band for 5G commercial services: Official


The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in a dialogue with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to limit its usage and vacate the remaining airwaves in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) band.

By Muntazir Abbas
ET Telecom
October 28, 2020, 16:38 IST


NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in a dialogue with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to limit its usage and vacate the remaining airwaves in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) band. "We are talking to ISRO to limit its stations, and rest can be allocated to telecom services," Member - Technology at DoT K. Ramchand said at a virtual industry event Wednesday and added that the band covers frequencies between 24.25 and 27.50 GHz.

The research organization operates five space stations in the mmWave band. The official said that fifth-generation or 5G services would not only require a single band but radio waves across the sub-GigaHertz, mid-band, and millimeter-wave band.

"5G is important for machine-to-machine communication (M2M), and we are coming up with additional guidelines," Ramchand said. Back in 2018, the department had decided to use a 13-digit M2M numbering plan.

Delhi-based Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that the mmWave band could be extremely useful for industrial IoT and investment from the private sector is needed. "One of the bands with support from the DoT could be identified as per WRC-19," SP Kochhar, director-general, COAI said, and added that it is important for India to make spectrum available soon.

London-headquartered telco group GSMA said that broadband impacts the lives of people and economies. In 2019, India's 4G mobile coverage has grown to 90%.

"With the rapid transition to the 4G smartphone, India emerged as the world's largest smartphone market," Manoj Misra, senior policy director at GSMA India said. The group estimated that India would have 24% new mobile subscribers by 2025. Misra said that the spectrum should be considered as a fundamental resource, and substantial investment in digital infrastructure would be needed.

The GSA has also unveiled the technical finding that could facilitate administrations to implement 5G in mmWave spectrum bands to meet their national connectivity goals. This GSA study focuses on the implementation of 5G in India considering the vision and targets set by its National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP-2018) and 5G High-Level Forum (5G HLF). GSA actively promotes the 3GPP technology roadmap for next-generation networks.

The study demonstrates that metropolitans like Delhi and Mumbai would require an excess of 6 GHz spectrum in 26 GHz-28 GHz while tier-1/2 cities will require up to 4GHz of spectrum in 26 GHz-28 GHz to cater for the traffic demand with desired quality of services associated with 5G services.