Indian operator Reliance Jio has already deployed 50,000 base stations and 300,000 cells to support its 5G service, local paper The Economic Times reported, citing the carrier’s CTO Shyam Mardikar.
“We want to complete full urban coverage before May-end and by end of summer, we will be in most of the cities. We will complete our full deployment as the calendar year ends,” the executive said.
“At this point, with this footprint, Jio is already in the top 10 operators of 5G by size itself in the first 140 days of its 5G launch,” the CTO said.
Jio started to deploy its 5G standalone (SA) network in October 2022 and has recently stated that it is on track to cover all towns and cities by December 2023.
Reliance Jio Infocomm recently announced that its 5G network already reaches 406 cities across India.
Jio is offering the 5G connectivity on an invitational basis, with users living in 5G-enabled cities who have 5G compatible smartphones receiving invitations.
The telco had initially announced the launch of the beta trial of its 5G services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi in October 2022. Jio is offering 5G through a Standalone (SA) network architecture.
Last year, Reliance Jio Infocomm announced 5G contracts with Nordic vendors Ericsson and Nokia. The deal with Ericsson marks the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country.
Ericsson said that its energy-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions and E-band microwave mobile transport solutions will be deployed in Jio’s 5G network.
Meanwhile, Nokia said that it has been selected as a major supplier by Reliance Jio to supply 5G Radio Access Network equipment from its AirScale portfolio countrywide in a multi-year deal.
Reliance Jio had previously secured a mix of wireless spectrum for 5G across 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 26 GHz bands. Jio is the only Indian operator with the 700 MHz low-band spectrum.
Rival operator Bharti Airtel recently announced that its Airtel 5G Plus service is available to customers in over 270 cities in the country
Earlier this week, Airtel launched new plans including unlimited 5G data for its customers with the aim of encouraging them migrate to 5G services.
The telco decided to remove the capping on data usage across all existing 5G plans.
All Airtel customers who are under the Airtel 5G Plus network coverage area can use the 5G connectivity for free, according to the operator. However, users have to make sure they are using a 5G-supported smartphone and have enabled Airtel 5G on their smartphone.
Airtel also said it is working towards offering nationwide coverage and expects to cover every town and key rural area with 5G by the end of March 2024.