“The company feels that the tariff rates in India cannot be increased since a large number of population still use feature phones”
At the recently concluded IMC 2018, Reliance Jio showcased the 5G use cases it has conceptualised for the end users like the 5G-connected remote controlled cars and more. At the same event, Reliance Jio President Mathew Oommen made a bold claim that affordable 5G ready affordable smartphones will arrive in India in 2021.
The top executive said that the 5G ecosystem in the country will be ready for mass use by 2019 – 2020 and we should expect an influx of 5G-compatible mass produced phones by 2021. Oommen said, “In end-2020 (or) 2021 when technology evolves… it is difficult for me in 2018 to predict what will be the cost structure in 2021. Right now we have to leverage the assets we have today and grow in capacity and experience till such time.”
Notably, Reliance Jio has been allocated spectrum in 28 gigahertz to run 5G trials, which is the same technology used to demonstrate the remote-controlled cars at the IMC in partnership with Ericsson. Ericsson Head of South East Asia, Oceania and India, Nunzio Mirtillo said, “Cost of data on per gigabyte basis will be far cheaper in 5G technology compared to 4G.”
Oommen had a corroborating train of thought on this topic as he feels companies in India need to be creative with data tariff in order to sustain. He emphasised that tariff plans in India cannot be increased since a large number of population is still on features phones. According to Oommen, the industry is no more product driven but data driven and he cited the example of US and Chinese internet giants, who have grown exponentially on the basis of data.
It remains to be seen how the future of 5G connectivity shapes in India. However, several brands like OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi have already started testing the technology on existing smartphones.