Mukesh Ambani unveiled his blueprint to build a complete technology ecosystem around Jio Platforms that includes developing India’s first 5G network solutions and affordable 4G smartphones in partnership with global giants such as Facebook, Qualcomm, Intel and Google.

Addressing shareholders at the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Ltd, Ambani announced a slew of big-ticket initiatives including a ₹33,737-crore ($4.5-billion) investment from Google. This is part of the $10-billion India-specific investment announced by Google on Tuesday. The Internet major will acquire a 7.7 per cent stake in Jio Platforms making it the 14 investor in Jio Platforms. With this investment, Jio has now raised a total of ₹1,52,056 crore.

Jio will also partner Google to build an Android-based smartphone operating system that will bring down the cost of smartphones to a fraction of what it is today. Nearly 70 per cent of the existing mobile subscribers continue to avail services based on the oldest mobile technology — 2G because they are unable to afford 4G-enabled smartphones. “As India is standing at the doorsteps of the 5G era, we should accelerate the migration of 350 million Indians, who currently use a 2G feature phone, to an affordable smartphone. They should not be deprived of the benefits of the digital and data revolution. Jio is determined to make India 2G- mukt ,” Ambani said at the virtual AGM to which over 5.5 lakh people logged in.



Sanchit Vir Gogia, Founder & CEO at Greyhound Research, said: “The decision by Google to invest in Jio is a game changer for both companies on many layers spanning devices, search, apps and commerce. On devices, Google had launched AndroidOne, a light-weight OS, a few years ago that had failed to deliver and Jio’s reach can plug those gaps. Google’s leadership in community apps (read, search, voice, and collaboration apps) alongside Jio’s prowess in connectivity and commerce means a much greater ability to win and own marketshare across consumer types and network of retailers.”

A game changer

In what could be another game changer in the area of telecom network equipment, Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from the scratch. The Made-in-India technology can be deployed and launched in a year’s time once 5G spectrum is available. “Once it is proven in India, Jio Platforms would be well positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally, as a complete managed service,” Ambani said. This is the first time an Indian company is venturing into mobile networking technology. Globally, Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei have been dominating this space so far.

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The AGM also witnessed the launch of JioGlass, which weighs 75 gm and connects through a single cable and already has 25 apps that allow augmented reality video meetings. The glasses have a cable that can be used to connect the device to a smartphone. It amplifies existing apps that are compatible with the headset to provide a 3D and 2D experience. Currently, it is compatible with over 25 apps in various genres including entertainment.

“With this partnership, Jio Platforms will be able to provide a gamut of services ranging from e-commerce and mutual funds to video content over the mobile phone and build a sturdy technological ecosystem. These initiatives would help in the acceleration of data adoption in the country.    Jio is on track to build a truly unique technology ecosystem, something the world might not have seen before,” said Viram Shah, CEO and Co-Founder of Vested Finance, an investment advisory firm.