Jio to bet big on enterprise 5G, not just consumer biz

NEW DELHI : Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd will be simultaneously focusing on 5G consumer and enterprise businesses, compared to the traditional approach, wherein a majority of revenues of a telecom company was from the consumer mobility business.

India’s No. 1 carrier will price its 5G services for consumers to ensure mass adoption, but will also target 35-50 million small and medium-scale businesses and at least 100 million homes, to drive broadband usage, which in turn will be monetized separately, said a top executive on the condition of anonymity.

“We’ve never approached a business by the tariff as a principle. First, we look at adoption as the principle which creates value and, when it does, we can extract that value,» the executive added.

On Saturday, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Jio parent Reliance Industries Ltd, said the carrier would offer the most affordable 5G services globally.

The business segments will be jointly addressed by Reliance Jio Infocomm and Jio Platforms, the holding company also housing the group’s digital businesses, to provide managed services platform as well as consumer services, the executive said. “We are not only for mobility. Mobility for an enterprise with 5G is becoming a unique combination in India. Our focus will be split between the consumer, enterprises and small and medium business solutions.»

The carrier will be looking at a large chunk of India’s information and communication technology sector spending of $36 billion, of which telecom is 10% and is expected to grow, to give more than adequate upside to revenues from the consumer, as well as enterprise segments, he said.

Reliance Jio is the only telecom firm to buy the 700MHz airwaves during the recently held spectrum auctions. It will first launch 5G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by Diwali.

Ambani said the carrier would invest 2 trillion to build the 5G network this year, and the next, which also includes buying requisite airwaves in the 700MHz band, 26GHz band and 3.5GHz band. Jio will launch standalone or SA 5G services by December 2023 using its 5G technology stack, including core and radio hardware, which is being locally manufactured in partnership with Sanmina Corp. in Chennai.

“There may be some circles where we use our gear from top to bottom,» the executive added. It has also forged partnerships with Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung for gear supplies in all circles. The company is also strengthening its supply chain for the 5G rollout. “5G device penetration is expected to rise exponentially with an estimated 8-million-plus 5G enabled devices coming into the market every month, creating a far larger ecosystem than 4G,» he said. Jio will partner Google to launch 5G devices.

Counterpoint Research said in a report that Jio may aim to price the devices in the range of 8,000-12,000. “We don’t want to become a device OEM, where there is complete absence of attention in certain customer or product segments. If we need an intervention to drive the market, we’ll do it,» the executive said. Jio is looking to introduce cloud computing via desktops or laptops that can be used in schools, colleges or at home, he added.

The JioBook, showcased at the India Mobile Congress, which has specifications similar to those laptops available at 15,000, will be enabled with a 4G SIM card that will be used to cater to enterprise and home markets.

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