Reliance acquired USD 11 billion worth of 5G spectrum in an auction in August and launched 5G services in select cities.
India’s telecoms provider Reliance Jio has selected Nokia as its main supplier, the Finnish telecom equipment maker said on Monday, as India’s largest mobile operator prepares to roll out next-generation wireless services across the country.
Nokia will supply 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment to Reliance Jio, which has more than 420 million customers, under a multi-year contract, the company said in a statement.
“Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO antennas and remote radio heads to support multiple spectrum bands and self-organizing network software,” the company said.
5G data speeds in India are expected to be about 10 times faster than 4G, with the network seen as crucial to emerging technologies such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
Reliance acquired $11 billion worth of airtime in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction in August and launched 5G services in select cities. It is also working with Alphabet Inc’s Google to launch a low-cost 5G smartphone.
As Indian telecom providers roll out 5G services, the government is also pushing leading mobile phone makers such as Apple Inc, Samsung and others to prioritize rolling out software upgrades to support 5G amid concerns that many of their models are not ready for high speed service.
The Reliance-Nokia deal comes at a time when some governments, including India, have either banned or discouraged the use of China’s Huawei in national networks.
“Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of all its customers,” said Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio plans to raise another $1.5 billion through external commercial loans to fund its 5G capital expenditure plans, the Economic Times reported, citing sources.