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Jio announces homegrown 5G network, to partner with Google for affordable 5G phones

The target for Reliance Jio over the next three years would be to connect half a billion mobile customers, a billion smart sensors and 50 million home and business establishments.

Published: 15th July 2020 04:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2020 04:46 PM   |  A+A-

Reliance Industries MD Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Industries MD Mukesh Ambani (File Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Mukesh Ambani announced on Wednesday that Reliance Jio has developed a complete 5G network solution, which can be ready for field deployment as early as next year. The network's rollout, however, is likely to depend on the government's 5G policy and most critically, the 5G spectrum auction which was supposed to be conducted this year, industry experts say. 

"Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. It will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year," Ambani said, speaking at Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) annual general meeting. 

According to Ambani, Jio is well prepared to deal with the 5G network roll-out with its solutions. 

Jio Platforms -- the RIL unit which has attracted over Rs 1.52 lakh crore in investment over the past few months -- has developed various capabilities in partnership with over 20 start-ups. These spread across areas like 4G, 5G, Cloud computing, Devices and OS, Big Data, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Natural Language Understanding and Computer Vision, Ambani noted. 

"Using these technologies, we can create compelling solutions across multiple industry verticals like media, financial services, new commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility," he said. Ambani also stressed that the goal of Jio Platforms was to develop original, captive intellectual property. 

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The target for Reliance Jio over the next three years would be to connect half a billion mobile customers, a billion smart sensors and 50 million home and business establishments. "We have fully kickstarted five accelerators of growth of digital connectivity: Mobile broadband, JioFiber, Jio's enterprise broadband, broadband for SMEs, and Jio's Narrowband Internet-of-Things (NBIoT)," Ambani said. 

The AGM also saw several other updates from the oil-to-telecom giant, not the least of which is a $4.5 billion investment into Jio Platforms on the part of Google. The Google-Jio partnership will also build affordable 5G smartphones. 

Jio's efforts to branch out into almost every facet of the digital ecosystem in India also saw it showcase a virtual reality wearable solution in the form of JioGlass. Very similar to Google's Google Glass in utility, if not looks, the JioGlass solution will allow 3D interactions and holographic content. 

According to the firm, JioGlass weighs just 75 gm and is enabled with customisable audio features. The device will be attached to a smartphone in a manner similar to how earphones now are. 

However, RIL did not reveal any details of when the device will be available on the market and what its price tag is likely to be. 

Ambani also admitted that the keenly-watched deal to sell a stake in its oil business to Saudi Arabian oil firm Aramco has not met its original timelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said that Reliance was "committed to a long-term partnership" with Aramco. 

While he did not give any further details on whether the deal is still on track, he did add that RIL would spin its oil-to-chemical (O2C) business into a separate subsidiary "to facilitate multiple partnership opportunities". The process is expected to be completed by early next year, he added. 

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