Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) is on the cusp of launching 4G (Fourth generation services) in India. RJIL, one of the hottest companies in the lucrative telecom sector in India is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private-sector enterprise. The company is looking to launch its much-awaited services from smaller cities like Coimbatore and Indore, before ramping it up to the metro cities in stages.
With the launch imminent, the telecom unit is rapidly developing the critical infrastructure and backend processes along with conducting trials regularly to ensure a glitch-free service. A person close to the company on the condition of anonymity said that Reliance Jio wants to launch its network through a tier-II city like Coimbatore and Indore and come to the metros later.
It’s interesting to note that Reliance Jio at the operation level at least, will give a lot of freedom to the 22 operational circles with a chief technology officer at each place. As such, the company has been on a hiring spree for up to 500 senior positions. In these 22 circles, Jio owns airwaves in the 2300 MHz band. Under Indian law, the Ambani-owned enterprise must roll out services by May 2015 — that is within five years of getting the licenses. The company also bought airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in a government auction in February this year.It plans to launch fourth-generation (4G) data services using the 2300 MHz band, or TD-LTE that allows high-speed data at much cheaper costs, along with voice over LTE (VoLTE) on the 1800 MHz band, or FDD LTE. It is expected that Reliance Jio will start services in the last quarter of 2014, with some even speculating of a full-scale escalated launch of September ’14.
4G Compatible Handsets:
The people said Jio is likely to have successfully completed trials on Samsung Galaxy S4 mini handsets, which can be used for providing voice over LTE on 1800 MHz. Jio didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Samsung declined to comment.
One of the most critical aspects about the timing of the services is going to be the availability of 4G or LTE compatible handsets. High-end devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the S4 mini are indeed 4G compatible and the company has even completed trials on these phones according to sources close to the company. The problem however lies in the low to mid-range device bracket. As a result, Jio and Samsung are collaborating on a range of handsets starting at $150 (Rupees 8,900) at the time of launch.
The people familiar with the matter said Jio won’t be subsidizing the handsets through bundled offers, but wants to make sure affordable handsets are available in the market at the time that its services are launched.