5G and Beyond

Nokia, Ericsson announce Jio 5G SA deals

Nokia and Ericsson have announced multi-year 5G radio access network (RAN) deals with Reliance Jio Infocomm, India's largest service provider.

This would be the first time that Jio would be working with the two European vendors on RAN projects. Previously Jio had an exclusive partnership with Samsung for 4G RAN.

Jio, which launched 5G services earlier this month, is the only Indian telco to have acquired pan-India 700MHz spectrum and will be using it to deploy a 5G standalone (SA) network. While Jio may be deploying a 5G SA network, it will still "interwork" with 4G, according to the Nokia press release. Jio's 5G services, which the company refers to as "True5G," are available in the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.

Nokia's press release says that Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including basestations, 5G massive MIMO antennas, and remote radio heads to support different spectrum bands and self-organizing network software. Ericsson's 5G RAN and E-band microwave mobile transport solutions will be used by Jio in its 5G network. However, the respective shares of Nokia and Ericsson in Jio's 5G RAN are unclear. Apart from Nokia and Ericsson, Jio will also be working with Cisco and Samsung on its 5G network.

(Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)
(Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)

"This is a significant win for Nokia in an important market and a new customer with one of the largest RAN footprints in the world," said Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of Nokia.

"We are happy to partner with Jio in those ambitions through Ericsson 5G standalone connectivity, which will be a major catalyst in meeting those digital transformation goals across society, enterprise and industry," saids Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson, in the press note issued by the company.

Nokia and Ericsson will also be working with Bharti Airtel to set up its 5G network. However, Vodafone Idea, India's third-largest service provider, is yet to announce its 5G vendors. Since the Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE could not get trusted vendor certification from the Indian government, the European vendors and Samsung have a great opportunity to grow their market share in the country. Samsung was earlier working only with Jio but is now also Airtel's vendor for 5G.

A recent BofA Securities note had said that Airtel and Jio would be together investing around $17 billion (excluding spectrum procurement costs) as capital expenditure between the 2023 and 2025 fiscal years, and that a significant part of this capex would go on building 5G networks. Jio's capex is likely to be more than Airtel's since the former is setting up 5G standalone while Airtel would be building 5G non-standalone networks.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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