At a press event in Barcelona on Tuesday, Reliance Jio and Samsung talked about working together to power Jio's 4G rollout in India, which has hit the milestone of 100 million subscribers in 170 days. The network’s growth has been massive by all accounts, with Reliance Jio President Jyotindra Thacker saying that the operator sees more mobile data usage than all telcos put together in the US, which could well be true given most people haven’t paid a single rupee to enjoy Jio’s services.
Samsung and Jio partnered to deploy the massive LTE network across India, Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics shared at the MWC 2017 event. "The massive deployment of over a million cells across India is especially remarkable," said Kim. "India is the leading market in volume in terms of technology. We will strive to create new paradigms for LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G by closely cooperating with Jio as a unified workforce."
To that end, the Reliance Jio and Samsung also announced an "infill and growth project" to upgrade the current LTE communication services by expanding network capacity as well as coverage. This will be done by utilising spectrum in the 850, 1800, and 2300MHz bands, to enable "seamless indoor and outdoor coverage in dense urban areas".
Reliance Jio Senior Vice President Tareq Amin added that the goal of the partnership was to see how to improve the capacity carried. "One of the initiatives we take is to look at technology available today, and technology which will be available in five to six months," he said. "I believe that partnering with Samsung has enabled us to deliver far higher capacity. You will see some massive, massive improvements that will be noticeable to the customer."
With complaints about the Reliance Jio network all too frequent, Amin acknowledged that there was still a lot to do. "Samsung is a strategic partner for the Jio network. All of what we've talked about here, Samsung and Jio will continue to do to enhance the network," he said. "Going to 100 million subscribers is not an easy thing that any network would take on. Next, we want to go into rural areas for deployment, and infills should address not just capacity augmentation but also superior quality experience anywhere and everywhere, including indoors."
At the same time, he pointed out the Jio had an advantage when it came to a 5G rollout. "Jio is already 5G ready. For us, it's actually relatively straightforward," he said. "Most of the challenge, on building the underlying foundation for a resilient network, is an all IP network. Our network is all IP. If my infrastructure today is all IP, whether you call it 5G, 6G, 7G, it's irrelevant. Our infrastructure is ready. We think LTE has a long term for us, but as far as natural evolution, we think we are ready to embrace and adopt 5G."
Reliance Jio's Thacker added that the partnership with Samsung will continue going forward. "We have built a successful network on the base stations that Samsung has deployed for Jio and we will continue to grow and add consumers," he said. "We have learned a lot from the initial days of our network launch, and will ensure that we deliver a superior quality experience, so people have a very compelling reason to look to Jio."