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Jio to launch 5G service in metro cities by Diwali

By, Mumbai
Aug 29, 2022 11:48 PM IST

Reliance Industries Ltd will invest ₹2 lakh crore to roll out its 5G services in key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by Diwali and across India by December next year, chairman Mukesh Ambani announced on Monday as part of a plan to expand and diversify his business.

Reliance Industries Ltd will invest 2 lakh crore to roll out its 5G services in key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by Diwali and across India by December next year, chairman Mukesh Ambani announced on Monday as part of a plan to expand and diversify his business.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of the Reliance Industries Ltd., speaks via live stream during the annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Reliance will invest 2 trillion rupees ($25 billion) to roll out its 5G services in October across the largest Indian cities, its billionaire-chairman Mukesh Ambani said as he continues to expand and diversify the $221 billion empire. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of the Reliance Industries Ltd., speaks via live stream during the annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Reliance will invest 2 trillion rupees ($25 billion) to roll out its 5G services in October across the largest Indian cities, its billionaire-chairman Mukesh Ambani said as he continues to expand and diversify the $221 billion empire. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

Ambani said the rollout of 5G, or fifth generation, wireless telecom services across India by December 2023 would be the fastest such implementation in the world.

If Reliance manages to achieve the target, it will be the first telco to achieve pan-Indian coverage, beating rival Bharti Airtel, which pledged to launch 5G services in 5,000 cities and towns by March 2024.

“Within the next two months, by Diwali, we will launch Jio 5G across multiple key cities, including the metropolises of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. By December 2023, which is less than 18 months from today, we will deliver Jio 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil of our country,” Ambani told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

“With Jio 5G, we will connect everyone, every place and everything with the highest quality and most affordable data. In addition to meeting India’s needs, we are confident of offering digital solutions to global markets,” Ambani said.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, India’s largest wireless operator, will be able to provide up to 1Gbps speed to consumers at affordable prices, but it did not disclose the tariffs at which it will launch 5G services.

Jio will use the so-called 5G stand-alone technology on top of its indigenously developed 5G stack to provide affordable services to consumers. Jio is also partnering with Google to launch a budget 5G smartphone.

Ambani further added that it was working closely with all leading global smartphone equipment makers committed to supporting Jio’s standalone 5G. Analysts said existing 5G smartphones support 3.5GHz, 26GHz and other sub-GHz bands, but devices supporting the 700MHz band are far fewer.

Ambani termed Jio’s 5G services, which will have no dependency on its 4G network, as true-5G and said that non-standalone 5G, which was being deployed by other carriers on top of 4G services, was a “hasty way” to claim 5G services launch as they won’t deliver the performance that its network will be able to offer.

The carrier will also launch JioAirFiber, which will give fibre-like wireless speeds, through a plug-and-play router-like device called JioAirFiber Home Gateway. “With it, India can rank among the top-10 nations, even for fixed broadband,” Ambani said.

Jio will also introduce affordable personal computers on the cloud.

Reliance Industries also announced a slew of other investments, including 75,000 crore in its oils-to-chemicals business, accelerated investments in its new energy business, and expansion into the fast-moving consumer goods industry.

Ambani said the investments will position the conglomerate for its next growth phase to double the group’s value by 2027, or the end of what it termed its golden decade.

“I, along with our board of directors, will dedicate ourselves to making Reliance more robust, more resilient, more purpose-driven, and truly future-ready so that, in the near term, Reliance more than doubles its value by the end of its Golden Decade in 2027, and thereafter continues to grow ever more rapidly,” Ambani said in his address to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Monday.

While Ambani laid out his goal to double the group’s value by 2027, he did not announce the value unlocking exercise through the IPOs of its retail and telecom units, and something investors were waiting to hear about.

Ambani also said the company would invest funds in its oils-to-chemicals business over the next five years to set up India’s first carbon fibre factory and to add capacity in other areas such as polyester and vinyl. He also added that the group would accelerate its commitment to invest 75,000 crore towards establishing a fully integrated new energy manufacturing ecosystem in Jamnagar.

Under its new energy business, the group now plans to set up another Giga factory, which will produce power electronics. RIL had previously announced plans to set up four Giga factories for photovoltaic panels, energy storage, green hydrogen and fuel cells.

Ambani added that RIL’s 10GW solar photovoltaic cell and module factory at Jamnagar will start production by 2024 and that the group is targeting to scale up to 20GW annual capacity in a phased manner by 2026.

He added that Reliance aims to start production of battery packs by 2023 and scale up to a fully integrated 5 GWh annual cell to pack manufacturing facility by 2024, and further scale up to 50GWh annual capacity by 2027.

He further added that the group aims to start the transition from grey hydrogen to green hydrogen by 2025.

“RIL AGM focused on three areas of 5G investment of 2 lakh crore, new energy capex of 75,000 crore and launch of its FMCG business. New energy business clearly outlines capacity building and timeline to start production across the key value chain with 10GW solar PV cell and module facility to start production by 2024, green hydrogen by 2025 and battery packs by 2023. Investment of 75,000 crore in O2C business was a bit of a surprise. The clear succession plan for each business of Jio, retail and new energy is also important in building a leadership team for sustained growth,” said Abhijeet Bora, an analyst at Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

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