Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), the telecom services arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has partnered with US-based internet giant Google and will use the latter’s Google Cloud for a range of 5G services, the Economic Times writes, citing RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who made the announcement at the group’s AGM. According to Ambani, Google – which holds a 7.73% stake in Jio Platforms, the holding company for RIL’s digital businesses and Jio’s parent company – will collaborate with Jio on the provision of 5G edge computing solutions, as well as new services covering healthcare, gaming and education.
As part of a separate partnership with Google, Jio also announced that it would launch its ‘ultra-affordable’ 4G smartphone in September this year. The price of the handset was not disclosed, but the device would come with an in-built voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, translation tools and a smart camera with augmented reality filters. Discussing the launch, Mr Ambani was quoted as saying: ‘India still has nearly 300 million mobile users who are unable to escape from inefficient and exorbitant 2G services because even a basic 4G smartphone remains unaffordable for these users. Therefore, an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone is essential to make India “2G-mukt [2G-free]”’.
Regarding Jio’s fibre rollout, meanwhile, the company claims to have expanded its network to reach twelve million homes and businesses across the country. Despite a slowdown in deployment due to the pandemic, the operator claims to have rolled out infrastructure to pass two million additional premises over the last year.