Reliance Industries will kick off its 44th annual general meeting today, and there are a lot of expectations riding on the event. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is likely to announce the roadmap for Jio 5G rollout today, alongside launching the first Jio 5G phones. It is an important stage in the company's growth that aims to bring the next-generation telecommunication services to India, even before its rival Airtel does that. Both Jio and Airtel are conducting 5G trials in restricted places in at least two cities, but wider testing is expected sometime at the beginning of 2022, if not later this year.
The biggest attraction that Jio was able to showcase was its homemade 5G equipment that is in line with the expectations of the government, which previously ruled out Chinese telecom gear makers such as Huawei from being a part of India's 5G testing. Jio also announced a partnership with Intel to develop 5G networking equipment, so there are going to be some advanced solutions available to the company at its disposal for the trials. But Jio is not the only one making significant achievements here. Airtel joined hands with Tata Consultancy Services to build the 5G network in India. Before we delve deeper, let us get some important AGM live stream details out of our way.
You can watch the RIL AGM live in a number of ways. On YouTube, you can tune to the Jio channel or The Flame of Truth channel to watch the live stream. On Facebook, you can watch the AGM live on Reliance Industries Limited and Jio pages. On Twitter, the live stream will be available on The Flame of Truth and Reliance Jio accounts, which you can go to watch the event.
RIL 44th AGM starts at 2 pm today.
At last year's AGM, Reliance's Mukesh Ambani said Jio will begin testing 5G in mid-2021 and the upcoming AGM coincides with that timeframe. The expectation that Jio will outrightly begin 5G trials right after the AGM seems a bit far-fetched. But Jio will definitely have something to show its advances, especially now that the race to the first 5G deployment has got aggressive after Airtel's announcement that it will begin mass trials of 5G services in January 2022. The Department of Telecom has already granted telecom players permission to use the 700MHz, 3.5GHz, and 26GHz spectrums for 5G.
If you place some hope in Jio's progress so far in terms of 5G deployment, the telecom company is likely to begin mass 5G trials within this year. But that will be limited to a city or a state in the beginning, so you should not really hope 5G will reach everyone right from the start. Since Jio is hosting trials in Mumbai right now, it is likely Mumbai will get 5G for everyone first. Airtel, on the other hand, is conducting trials in Gurugram.
Jio is highly expected to also introduce its first 5G handsets at the 44th AGM today. Since the deployment of 5G in India will gain pace, Jio wants people to invest in the hardware. By hardware, I mean phones that support 5G. There is already a big assortment of 5G phones from across brands, but Jio launching its own phone makes sense. Jio's feature phone, called the JioPhone, is among the most popular feature phones in India, and continuing from that, Jio's 5G phone may even be a feature phone -- something that will probably be a first in the world. The 5G JioPhone is likely to use KaiOS as the operating system to bring some smart features.
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