RIL plans global push with indigenous 5G technology
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the development of a made-in-India 5G technology solution that he envisions will be the cornerstone of the company’s strategy to create a connected digital ecosystem, spanning telecom, e-commerce, retail and enterprise solutions in India and outside.
“Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India-scale, 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 at the company’s 43rd annual general meeting on Wednesday.
The technology was built indigenously by an in-house technical team at Jio Platforms, the company’s digital business arm, said Ambani, who recently surpassed Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to become the world’s sixth-richest person. Laying out his vision for the company in a virtual address, Ambani said one of the key focus areas of Jio will be to upgrade millions of Indians using feature phones on 2G networks by offering them cheap 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,” Ambani said. “We believe we can design an entry-level 4G…or even 5G smartphone at a fraction of its current cost. But, to power such a value-engineered smartphone, we also need an equally value-engineered smartphone operating system and such an operating system must be designed with India in mind. Google and Jio are partnering to build an Android-based smartphone operating system.”
Analysts said a key part of Jio’s strategy is to leverage the tech developed by startups in which Reliance has invested. Announcing further value unlocking in the retail business, which has since become a major revenue contributor to the group, Ambani said more strategic partnerships will be announced in the retail business. Last year, Reliance Retail reported a revenue of Rs 1.63 lakh crore and operating profit of Rs 9,654 crore.
On the oil and gas business, Ambani said he has been approached by global companies for strategic partnerships in its chemical business, including in utilising the feedstocks. The Covid-19 pandemic has, however, cast a shadow on RIL’s $15 billion stake sale to Saudi Aramco in its oil-to chemicals (O2C) business.