India’s upstart mobile operator Jio is testing in-house-built 5G radios integrated with 5G core, according to a recent investor update from Jio’s parent company Reliance Industries.
Jio has reached a total subscriber base of 410.8 million – an astonishing number that could only happen in a country as populated as India. Jio saw total net subscriber additions of 40 million in calendar year 2020, despite the fact the country was in lock-down due to Covid.
But analysts at Jefferies noted that net subscriber additions during Jio’s fiscal Q3 2021 were soft. “Jio's gross subscriber additions at 25 million were at similar levels versus 27 million witnessed in 2Q,” wrote the analysts. “However, its net subscriber additions at 5 million were its lowest ever in a quarter.”
The company is experiencing some strong anti-Jio public relations currently, due to farmers’ protests related to other parts of the giant Reliance Industries conglomerate.
But the mobile phone business is holding its own. During the recent quarter, Jio reported that it achieved a $10 billion annualized revenue run rate.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement: “India is today among the leaders driving the digital revolution in the world. In order to maintain this lead, Jio will continue to accelerate the rollout of its digital platforms.”
Jio and 5G
Of particular note to the wireless industry, Jio reported that it has an “indigenously developed 5G radio integrated with Jio’s 5G core network and 5G smartphones” and the combination of technology has achieved over-the-air throughputs in excess of 1 Gbps.
Jio also said it has in-house Massive MIMO and indoor 5G small cells “under advanced stages of development.”
Radisys is another wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries. And it has been working with Qualcomm to develop an open 5G network with a virtualized RAN for Jio.
The mobile operator is planning to launch 5G in the second half of 2021; the company is currently awaiting the telecom department's nod to test its 5G equipment, according to the Economic Times.
The company also said that during the quarter it received regulatory approvals for the investment from Google of $4.5 billion into Jio Platforms for a 7.73% stake.