Jio aims to reach 100 million connected premises in India with its FWA offering

Indian operator Reliance Jio Infocomm has created a dedicated 5G network slice for the provision of its 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) solution, dubbed Jio AirFiber, local newspaper The Economic Times reported.

“While we have the 5G rollout underway, we have created a very dedicated slice, because as you know we have a standalone 5G architecture that allows things like network slicing. We have created a dedicated network slice for home broadband in such a way that it does not conflict with the mobility capacity that we are also rolling out,” the carrier’s president Kiran Thomas said during a recent conference call with investors.

“In a way, we have created two lanes in our 5G highway, one dedicated for the home rollout, AirFiber, and one still continuing to serve our 5G mobile customers,” Thomas said.

The report stated that Jio aims to launch the AirFiber device in the coming months. The Indian telco aims to reach 100 million connected premises in India with its FWA offering.

Thomas also said that the company has expedited its wired broadband network rollout by partnering with local cable operators. “We have partnerships in more than a thousand towns and that’s also really one of the secrets behind how we’ve been able to grow this fast,” he added.

According to data from the country’s Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Jio led the wired broadband market as of April 2023, with 8.65 million subscribers, followed by Bharti Airtel, with 6.25 million and state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, with 3.63 million.

Indian operator Reliance Jio Infocomm has already deployed more than 115,000 sites with roughly 690,000 5G cells across India.

Jio said that the deployed infrastructure enabled the company to provide 5G coverage in over 90% of India’s towns and cities.

The telecom operator is now aiming to conclude its 5G rollout ahead of its earlier target of December 2023.

Reliance Jio Infocomm has been rapidly expanding its 5G network using Standalone (SA) architecture since October 2022. The telco has already deployed its 5G service in 6,258 cities across 36 states in India, according to the carrier’s website.

Reliance Jio had previously secured a mix of wireless spectrum for 5G across the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands. Jio is the only Indian operator with the 700 MHz low-band spectrum.

Reliance Jio Infocomm was expected to sign a contract worth around $1.7 billion with Finnish vendor Nokia for the acquisition of 5G network equipment, according to a recent press report. This new 5G deal will be in addition to the 5G contract worth $2.1 billion with Swedish vendor Ericsson, accordin