The Economic Times quoted securities firm SBICap Securities as saying that the Reliance move had been resorted to due to capital raising plans announced recently by Vodafone and Bharti Airtel.
Jio has about 215 million subscribers on its 4G VoLTE network, all gained during just 25 months in operation, and constituting two-thirds of the country's 4G market. It is expected to reach 400 million subscribers by 2020.
A 5G spectrum auction was expected in January 2020, according to the joint research chief at SBICap, Rajiv Sharma.
The report quoted Sharma as seeing “Jio making a decisive 5G upgrade next year to make competition from Airtel and VIL on the 4G front irrelevant, in its bid to maintain leadership on the fast broadband technology, thought and revenue market share fronts”.
He said: “Jio’s early move to 5G is inevitable to sustain market share gains, and we see it selectively deploying this next generation wireless broadband technology by the second half of 2020.
“If most funds raised by VIL and Airtel are deployed in expanding 4G capacity, they could together claim 425 million subscribers, sufficient enough to upgrade all their existing 2G users to 4G, which would make it tough for Jio to gain more market share" before nine or 12 months go by.