Indian cellco Vodafone Idea (Vi) is reportedly exploring OpenRAN and virtualised RAN (VRAN) technologies to reduce the cost of its delayed 5G rollout. The Economic Times cites sources familiar with the matter as saying that Vi has begun proof of concept tests with Samsung for VRANand with Mavenir for OpenRAN. The debt-laden operator has so far struggled to negotiate a 5G rollout agreement with its vendor partners due to outstanding dues and its substantial debt pile. Under the terms of its 5G licence the company was due to launch 5G services by mid-August 2023, but has to-date only activated networks in two circles on a trial basis and is expected to face financial penalties from the regulator for missing its deployment targets in the remaining 15 circles for which it purchased spectrum.

In a separate development, meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) is set to launch a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) service, dubbed JioAirFiber, next month. The technology will enable Jio to accelerate its coverage expansion efforts by simplifying the deployment of last-mile access. The company noted that it could connected around 15,000 premises to direct fibre per day, or up to 150,000 per day via 5G.

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