Reliance announced a strategic partnership with Google in a 43rd virtual annual general meeting. Google will invest $4.5 billion for a 7.73 per cent stake in Jio Platforms. This investment in Jio is first, and the largest chunk of the India Digitisation Fund ($10 billion). The two companies will jointly develop an operating system for the development of entry-level 4G and 5G smartphones.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai announced that the central idea is to increase access for Indians who do not own a smartphone. The mobile experience will be enhanced for everyone at the same time.
Previously, Jio disrupted the telecommunication market with its ultra-cheap data plans and is now preparing for the next level of growth. Its strategy includes acquiring 350 million 2G-network users by offering them affordable phones. Earlier, the company has shipped at least 40 million JioPhone powered by KaiOS. These smart feature phones support a handful of apps, including Facebook’s WhatsApp. Now with Google, Jio could launch low-cost, technology-driven, value-engineered smartphones.
Mukesh Ambani said that Jio has developed an indigenous 5G network solution, which will allow it to launch 5G services in India. It will use technologies and solutions which are developed in India. He added that this solution will be ready for trials as soon as the 5G spectrum is available. It can be set for field deployment next year.
Jio Platforms operates a range of digital services, including a music streaming player and a video conferencing app. In the meeting, Jio Platforms unveiled its newest offering, the Jio Glass. It is a mixed reality application for office meetings and education. When Jio Platforms plans to make this new gadget available to consumers and what it would cost is still unknown.
With the latest investment, Jio has raised Rs 1.52 trillion in less than three months, selling 32.97 per cent stake to 14 investors. The company’s status has changed to debt-free, which is unprecedented in the history of capital markets in India. Facebook was the first company to invest in Jio platforms and acquired a 9.99% stake. Qualcomm and Intel also invested in Jio later. Google’s investment shows that technology companies believe that to tap into a large number of digital users in India is through the Jio network.