In a shocking announcement, Reliance Jio, India’s largest telecom player, announced that it has developed a fully in-house 5G telecom solution that can be deployed as early as next year.
“I have great pride in announcing, that Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch,” Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani said today at the company’s annual general meeting. “This will enable us to develop a 100% home-grown technology and solution.”
Ambani said his company’s technology can be put to trial as soon as 5G spectrum is given out by government of India. It “can be ready for field deployment next year,” Ambani said.
That would make Reliance Jio among the handful of companies that have a deployment-ready 5G solution, along with China-based Huawei and Finland-based Nokia.
This is also the first time that any Indian company has come up with any sort of cellular technology or stack.
Moreover, Ambani hinted that the company will also look at tapping overseas markets.
“Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India scale, Jio Platforms would be well positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally as a complete managed service,” Ambani added.
He said the development of the 5G platform was in sync with Jio’s aim of developing “original, captive intellectual property”.
Ambani said the intent is to develop applications too that can have a global market.
Besides the network layer and apps, Jio Platforms will also focus on areas like machine learning, big data, operating systems, block chain and so on, Ambani added, inviting start-ups to be parts of the Jio ecosystem.
“With our 100% owned intellectual property, total solutions approach, Reliance has built deep domain knowledge in most of the industry verticals. Jio Platforms can combine this domain expertise with its technology know-how to develop innovative eco-system solutions and managed services for our country.
“Each of these solutions, once proven in India, has the potential to transform the world.”
It remains to be seen how successful Jio’s in-house 5G solution can be, given various threats from the market.
The area of telecom technology is notorious for disputes relating to intellectual property and patents.
When a newcomer like Jio enters the field, incumbents often claim that it has encroached on their technology and try to shut it down.
This is usually overcome by the newcomer acquiring intellectual property from an ailing traditional company, as was done by Google when it acquired Motorola.
This will ensure that the newcomer will be able to counter sue anyone who files a patent infringement suit against it.