Jio said to seek vendors for 4G expansion

telecomasia.net

India's Reliance Jio Infocomm is reportedly in talks with vendors including Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Samsung regarding the next phase of its pan-India 4G rollout.

The disruptive new operator is seeking vendors for a plan to add over 40,000 new LTE sites nationwide, sources told India's Economic Times.

A multi-vendor contract would represent a change of strategy for Jio. The operator had been contracting Samsung as the sole 4G equipment supplier for Jio, awarding the vendor contracts to supply over 140,000 sites.

But the report suggests that Jio may be attempting to minimize risk in response to ongoing speculation that Samsung may exit the networking hardware business, following reports that Cisco has approached Samsung with an offer to buy multiple times.

Adopting a multi-vendor strategy may also be an attempt to negotiate lower prices.

Nokia is already providing VoLTE technology for Jio, while Ericsson is providing OSS systems. The vendors have been seeking a slice of the operator's lucrative 4G network rollout.

Jio finally launched commercial services earlier this month, and has been disrupting the market with its aggressive data-only pricing strategy. The operator is also currently feuding with incumbent operators over points of interconnect and mobile number portability.

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