Reliance Jio Platforms wants to export ‘made-in-India’ 5G tech to the world
Mukesh Ambani – the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries – has recently announced that his telecommunications venture company Jio Platforms is about to enter the 5G market in India, and has developed a completely homegrown 5G solution as part of its efforts.
Ambani, who recently overtook Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma to once again become the top the Asia rich list, announced the startling 5G revelation at Reliance’s 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week.
“Today, I have great pride in announcing that Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. This will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India, using 100% homegrown technologies and solutions,” the chairman and managing director said in his address to shareholders, prospective investors, media and the general public.
Calling it a “made in India” 5G solution, Ambani said the new service will be ready for when 5G spectrums are made available in India, and can be field-tested by next year. 5G trials and spectrum auctions have been delayed in India, pending clarification on the involvement of China’s Huawei Technologies, the global market leader in 5G networking who has been experiencing pushback from a number of countries on the deployment of its 5G infrastructure, amid allegations of spying and privacy violations on behalf of the Chinese state government.
A number of countries have elected to go with other 5G infrastructure providers such as Nokia and Ericsson to build their 5G capacities, with several markets including the US, Australia, Japan, Singapore and to a lesser extent New Zealand shutting out Huawei in their 5G races.
India, on the other hand, had been working with Huawei and ZTE before a recent violent border clash between regional superpowers India and China saw a heightened distrust emerge for all China-backed entities operating on the Indian subcontinent, leading to blanket bans on Chinese tech interests including popular mobile applications like TikTok, despite India being its second-biggest market.
Jio’s move to develop its own 5G technology will help it shed its dependence on foreign vendors to improve its telecommunications operations, analysts say, and reduce costly expenses associated with engaging foreign suppliers.
The company is said to have developed a complete Jio Platforms 5G end-to-end solution, and Ambani has come out as saying that once it is deployed in India, the 5G solution can be bundled as an entire managed service offering for other telco operators, both in India and overseas. If all goes well, Jio Platforms would be well-positioned to become a 5G solution exporter in the coming years.
Reliance chief Ambani says that Jio Platforms has partnered with more than 20 startups to build up world-class capabilities in various technologies that will be enhanced with 5G coverage, including cloud computing, big data, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision.
“Using these technologies, we can create compelling solutions that span multiple Industry verticals and ecosystems like media, financial services, new commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility,” said Ambani.
There has been a lot of investment potential circling Jio Platforms recently, itself a subsidiary of India’s most valuable firm Reliance Industries, which has raised around US$20.2 billion by selling about a third (approximately 33%) of the company in the past few months to a string of high profile investors including Qualcomm, Intel, and Vista.
At the Reliance AGM, it was revealed that Google had poured in $4.5 billion for a 7.73% stake in the top telco in the world’s fourth-largest economy. The announcement meant Jio Platforms represents one of the few joint investments of both Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook– Facebook having sunk in $5.7 billion for a near 10% stake just two months back, making the social media juggernaut the largest minority shareholder.
The Facebook deal in fact directly made Reliance Industries stock to surge by 10%, causing Ambani’s fortune to rise about US$4.7 billion to US$49.2 billion– putting him once again ahead of China’s Jack Ma as the richest person in the world.