Reliance Jio might become the first telecom operator in India to offer 5G services. The Mukesh Ambani-owned telecom operator is reportedly planning to offer its own 5G handsets bundled with 5G services by April next year. The company is said to be discussing plans for assembling 5G-enabled devices with vendors. 5G is expected to become available in the US, Europe, Korea and China this year and will expand around the world next year and Reliance Jio could put India in the early stage of 5G with its own devices.
A new report from Financial Chronice states that telecom operator will be ready to roll out 5G services in the country by April next year. The spectrum auction for 5G deployment is expected to take place in July and testing of equipments by leading telecom players is already over. After the roll out of 5G, the ecosystem of services around the new mobile telephony is expected to develop thereafter. 5G support is expected to be limited to flagship devices this year but Reliance Jio is seen to make it affordable for average consumers.
“Jio will replicate its 4G mobile services and feature phone model in 5G as well but the service and handset will be together,” a source told the publication. The source added that the company is best placed to start testing equipment after auction by January next year supposing all ecosystems are in panned out then.
The report also notes that major telcos wanted the auctions of spectrum to be pushed back due to lack of availability of affordable 5G devices. The government has said it will hold auction for 5G airwaves in the second half of 2019. Reliance Jio is now planning to release 5G handsets simultaneously with the launch of its 5G services.
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Samsung is expected to launch the first 5G-enabled smartphone at the Unpacked event on February 20. At Mobile World Congress later this month, smartphone makers such as Huawei and LG are expected to launch their own 5G devices. 5G mobile service not only promises faster data speeds but also offers lower latency and will allow for improved virtual reality experience, better home automation and allow for deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Reliance Jio is planning to offer 5G services next year and the device ecosystem is expected to grow soon after its availability. It is not clear when Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd plan to start offering 5G services in the country. It needs to be seen whether this device will be called JioPhone as well but the company could put 5G in the hands of millions of consumers.