Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday hinted at rolling out 5G telecom services in the second half of 2021 and said policy steps are needed to accelerate the early rollout of ultra-high-speed 5G services that are affordable and available everywhere. Ambani, whose four-year-old telecom venture Jio has captured the No.1 spot offering free voice calling and data at dirt-cheap rates, also pitched for developing hardware manufacturing in India, saying the nation cannot rely on imports in such a critical area. 5G is the 5th generation mobile network that enables connecting virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. India, he said, is today among the best digitally connected nations in the world. “In order to maintain this lead, policy steps are needed to accelerate the early rollout of 5G, and to make it affordable and available everywhere,” he said. “I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G Revolution in India in the second half of 2021.” Jio’s 5G will be powered by the indigenously-developed network, hardware and technology components. “Jio’s 5G service will be a testimony to your inspiring vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat.” Jio and other service providers such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea offer 4G services. The country however also has a 2G network that supports only voice calling and text messaging. “As many as 300 million mobile subscribers in India are still trapped in the 2G era. Urgent policy steps are needed to ensure that these underprivileged people have an affordable smartphone so that they too can benefit from direct benefit transfer into their bank accounts, and actively participate in the digital economy,” he said. India has over a billion phone users.