India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm reportedly will launch 4G service in five cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Nagpur – by June.
According to an anonymous Jio executive, additional cities, where the network is 90 per cent completed, will be added in the coming months, The Economic Times reported. It faces penalties if it fails to launch 4G services by the end of June.
The operator, which obtained a pan-India 2.3GHz licence five years ago when it acquired Infotel Broadband, announced last week that it has developed a messaging app and plans to release additional apps covering health, finance, e-commerce and TV to differentiate its 4G service from its competitors’.
Jio has 20MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum in 22 circles (countrywide) and 5-7MHz of 1.8GHz airwaves in 14 circles.
The company said it plans to initially roll out 4G service in 900 cities and towns, with a phased launch across the country.
Operators are required to roll out 4G service across 90 per cent of the cities and 50 per cent of rural areas within five years of receiving spectrum, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
According to a JPMorgan Chase report, few towers in India are linked with fibre, so Jio needs to lay large amounts of fixed infrastructure before it can launch 4G services, the Times said. The report noted that obtaining approvals in 900 cities/towns and laying fibre across the cities has been time consuming.
In addition to building out its own network, Jio has worked out deals to share towers with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications.