Reliance Jio, India's largest telecom operator, has often said that it wants to see India '2G Mukt'. The telco, in its response to TRAI's (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) consultation paper on 'Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem' said that a policy needs to come from the government for shutting down 2G/3G networks in India. There are still about 300 million mobile users in India that consume 2G or 3G services. Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) are the players that have to offer legacy network services to consumers who don't want to or can't upgrade to 4G/5G.
Jio said, "The Government should come out with a policy and glidepath for closing down the 2G and 3G networks completely so that unnecessary network costs should be avoided, and all customers can be migrated to 4G and 5G services. This will also give great impetus to developing ecosystem to 5G use cases."
Telcos have to maintain legacy networks despite negligible returns because otherwise, these customers won't have anywhere to go. Jio's networks are all 4G or 5G. The telco believes that shutting down legacy networks is in the best interest of developing the ecosystem of 5G.
Jio also launched the affordable JioBharat platform that can enable OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to offer super affordable 4G feature phones to customers in India. These phones start at Rs 999 and offer features such as content streaming, UPI payments and more. This will enable the current 2G customers to go for new 4G feature phones as they are affordable and the prepaid plans meant for these devices are also super affordable.
Jio had also launched the JioPhone Next, a touch-screen affordable 4G phone made in partnership with Google. It is available only for Rs 4499, says the official website of Reliance Jio.