Jio 5G SIM: what is Jio 5G standalone network and does it require new 5G SIM?

Jio 5G network will use standalone 5G technology. What is Jio 5G standalone network and does it require a new 5G SIM to access Jio 5G services?

At the 45th Annual General Meeting, Jio officially announced the upcoming Jio 5G network services in India. The leading telecom operator confirmed that 5G services would launch by this Diwali i.e. October 24th in key cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Later, the network next-generation network will also be available made available in “every town, talukdar, and tehsil” in phases across the country by December of 2023. Jio further confirmed that its 5G network will be based on 5G SA technology that will have “zero dependencies” on the existing 4G infrastructure that the company has built. What is Jio 5G standalone network and do you require a new SIM to access Jio’s 5G services?

What is Jio 5G standalone network?

Jio’s 5G network will use the 5G standalone technology to offer services such as “low latency, massive machine-to-machine communication, 5G voice, Edge computing, and network slicing, and the metaverse”. The term 5G SA stands for “Standalone 5G”, which is a 5G network technology that works on its own and doesn’t depend on the existing 4G network infrastructure. For the unaware, the 5G network has two interfaces: 5G SA (5G standalone) and 5G NSA (non-standalone 5G). Telcos can choose to deploy the next-generation network either using 5G SA or 5G NSA. Both 5G interfaces use the new 5G New Radio (5G NR) technology, defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GGP). 5G NR enables the network providers to deliver low-latency, high-bandwidth, stable networks.

The difference between 5G NSA and 5G SA

While both 5G SA and 5G NSA technologies/modes aim to deliver effective solutions for 5G deployment for the network providers, the deployment mode decides what each mode can deliver to end consumers. Non-standalone 5G as the name suggests, is not a standalone network and depends on the existing network infrastructure, specifically the 4G LTE network. Building the 5G network on top of the existing 4G LTE network enables the telcos to roll out the 5G network at a faster rate and at reduced costs. This is meant as a stopgap solution for network providers who want to offer 5G services to their users but aren’t yet prepared for 5G SA, which requires massive investments and research and development in the network infrastructure. But nonetheless, telcos can still decide to not upgrade to 5G SA and rely entirely on the 5G NSA for 5G services.

5G SA, on the other hand, works completely on its own and doesn’t depend on any existing network infrastructure, such as 4G LTE, to work. And since the network doesn’t need to work on 4G LTE infrastructure, the network offers increased bandwidth and efficiency, enabling the telcos, for instance, to offer new use cases such as “low latency, massive machine-to-machine communication, 5G voice, Edge computing and network slicing, and the metaverse” as Jio explains.

Do you need a new SIM to access Jio 5G SA? 

While Jio hasn’t confirmed whether users will require new SIM cards to use its 5G standalone network, we speculate, based on how the technology works, users will probably require new 5G SIMs to access the network. Jio may follow the same process that other network providers used to upgrade the existing 3G SIMs to 4G-enabled SIMs, which required users to visit their nearest customer service centre or retail store and upgrade their SIMs by sending a simple SMS from their current active SIMs. Meanwhile, Jio users can use the Jio Air Fiber, which is a plug-and-play device that lets you connect to the 5G network and can be used to access services such as cloud gaming, immersive sports viewing, and other 5G services.