Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio and South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics held a joint press conference at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona earlier today, announcing the ‘I&G (Infill & Growth) Project’ that the companies hope will enable the carrier to expand its current network capacity as well as increase its network coverage going forward. The project will reportedly aim to expand Jio services to reach to over 90% of the country’s population. This will be done by using spectrum in the 850MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands, which is expected to increase outdoor coverage in sparsely populated rural areas while improving indoor connection strength in densely populated urban areas.
Samsung and Jio have been collaborating since 2012, with the South Korean company already providing the LTE core and base stations for the carrier’s wildly-popular VoLTE services. With the latest tie-up, Samsung will also supply Jio with the technology and services required for LTE-Advanced Pro, as well as help the carrier to upgrade its network to 5G in the course of time. Announcing the new deal between the two companies, senior executives from both companies sounded pleased with the latest developments. According to Mr. Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, “The massive deployment of over a million cells across India is especially remarkable. India is the leading market in volume in terms of technology”.
The Senior Vice-President of Reliance Jio, Mr. Tariq Amin, also conveyed his satisfaction at the deal, saying that the goal of the partnership was to see how to improve the network’s capacity. According to him, "One of the initiatives we take is to look at technology available today, and technology which will be available in five to six months. I believe that partnering with Samsung has enabled us to deliver far higher capacity”. He also said that customers should expect to see “massive improvements” in network quality because of the new technology that is being deployed nationwide as part of the deal with Samsung.
Jio is an ambitious new carrier that was launched in India only last year by Reliance Industries, the country’s largest conglomerate with interests in various sectors including, but not limited to, petroleum and natural gas, textiles, retail, media, financial services and telecommunications. Within less than a year of its commercial launch, the carrier has already managed to capture a large chunk of the country’s mobile subscribers by offering super-fast LTE connections at highly attractive rates. The carrier is now one of the largest telecom operators in the country alongside the likes of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL, and claims to have garnered a nationwide subscriber base of over 100 million within the first six months of its commercial launch.