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5G

RIL strengthens local tech capabilities for India's 5G race

India's Reliance Jio Infocomm, part of the country's biggest enterprise, Reliance Industries (RIL), has been accelerating the rollout of indigenous technologies and forging partnerships to strengthen its 5G capabilities locally and deliver cost-effective solutions at competitive pricing globally.

The company has invested INR16.7 billion ($220 million) in the US-listed integrated manufacturing services provider Sanmina Corp to set up a joint venture (JV) that will focus on high technology infrastructure hardware, mainly 5G telecom network equipment, cleantech and cloud infrastructure for both Indian and overseas markets.

As part of the agreement, Reliance, through its subsidiary, Reliance Strategic Ventures, will invest in California-based Sanmina's existing Indian entity, SCI India Private Ltd, to hold a 50.1% stake in the JV. Sanmina, on the other hand, will contribute to its existing contract manufacturing business.

The new JV will help the oil-to-telecom conglomerate fulfill its own need for 5G telecom gear and give it a solid starting ground to become a global player in selling 5G tech and competing against dominant gear makers Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei. Jio has mentioned in the past that it hopes to sell its indigenously developed 5G stack in the global market. The partnership will also enable Jio to benefit from the Indian government's "Make in India" manufacturing campaign and offer telecom equipment at a competitive price.

Next-generation 5G stack

RIL has recently also developed a compact 5G-as-a-service solution called 'Jio 5G Hyperlite Stack,' which it plans to offer to enterprises and businesses. Aayush Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President of Jio, revealed this interesting development through a LinkedIn post.

"The solution can be deployed on-prem as a pre-packaged core network, complete with fully integrated indoor and outdoor radio cells. Other options of edge deployment are also possible," says Bhatnagar. Enterprises can govern the 5G in a box deployment from the cloud at any time round the clock. Jio has also recently conducted trials of connected drones on 5G spectrum made available by the government for tests.

Last year, the Mukesh Ambani-led RIL had increased its stake to 5% in Himachal Futuristic Cable Limited (HFCL), India's largest integrated telecom network provider. HFCL specializes in the manufacturing of telecom equipment and optical fiber cable. The company is also believed to be in talks with other Indian firms for a possible acquisition.


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As the Indian market moves closer to 5G spectrum auction and the possible launch of services later this year, there is a heightened activity among the service providers to prepare networks for 5G. All the telcos are conducting 5G trials and forming partnerships, so they are able to launch services quickly once the spectrum auction is complete.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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