Reliance Jio earmarked an eye-watering INR2 trillion ($25.1 billion) to roll out a nationwide standalone (SA) 5G network in India by December 2023, with the initial launch planned in four cities in less than two months.

Speaking at parent company Reliance Industries’ AGM, chairman Mukesh Ambani stated in less than 18 months Jio will deliver 5G to every town in the country, after covering some 1,000 cities.

It will start with service in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by the Diwali festival in late-October.

Ambani added the company has indigenously developed an end-to-end 5G stack which is fully cloud native and software designed.

The company is working with Google to develop affordable 5G smartphones for India, he said, noting it will also use the capabilities of Google Cloud to offer Jio’s private 5G and other 5G-enabled services to domestic and global users.

In an early August auction, Jio spent about $11 billion on spectrum in the 900MHz, 3500MHZ and 26GHz bands.

Following the auction, rival Bharti Airtel selected Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung as its 5G equipment suppliers, with the operator planning to start the rollout this month.