Samsung has expressed its interest in the next edition of the production-linked incentive (PLI) 2.0 scheme for network equipment to locally manufacture 4G and 5G products. The South Korean manufacturer is reportedly in talks with Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel regarding 4G expansion and 5G supply contracts.
Samsung has conveyed its interest in making 4G and 5G network equipment in India to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). A source close to ET said that the company “has made its stance clear to the DoT in recent meetings. During its discussions, Samsung has shared a letter with the government that says it will be interested in the phase 2 of the PLI scheme”.
Samsung Does A U-Turn
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This is a complete U-turn for the company, as it had decided to refrain from participating in the initial PLI scheme for network equipment last year. The company had justified its decision saying that setting up a plant for network equipment could not be viable in India as the country had just one client—Reliance Jio Infocomm. It had added that its plants in Vietnam, South Korea and China have enough capacity to meet global demand.
The South Korean company appears to have now changed its mind, as another Indian telco—Bharti Airtel, entered the scene. Airtel is reportedly preparing to expand its vendor base beyond Nokia and Ericsson. Jio is trialling its own end-to-end 5G stack in India, and is also working with Samsung on the 5G trials. Reports say that Samsung is also in talks with Airtel for 4G and 5G equipment supply contracts.
Additionally, Samsung is also keen on the idea of exporting 4G and 5G gear from India. A source tells ET that “the demand mapping will be done once there is a confirmation on PLI 2.0”.