Jio, Google bonhomie continues to grow in India

Two announcements at Reliance Industries' AGM around the JioPhoneNext and the cloud seal the deal on the love affair with Google.

Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor

June 28, 2021

3 Min Read
Jio, Google bonhomie continues to grow in India

The love affair between Reliance Jio, India's largest service provider, and Internet giant Google continues to grow.

Two major announcements at India's largest company, Reliance Industries' Annual General Meeting (AGM) seal the deal.

The smartphone story

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced that Jio and Google had developed the JioPhoneNext, a low-cost smartphone, to be available starting September 10.

"Our teams have optimized a version of our Android OS especially for this device. It will offer language and translation features, a great camera and support for the latest Android updates. It is built for India...and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the first time," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Figure 1: Coming up: The JioPhoneNext is Jio's successor to the JioPhone, built in collaboration with Google. (Source: Jio) Coming up: The JioPhoneNext is Jio's successor to the JioPhone, built in collaboration with Google.
(Source: Jio)

While the price of the new device was not revealed, it is likely to be introduced with a heavy subsidy. In 2020, the two partnered to develop a low-cost smartphone. Google invested $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms for a 7.73% stake.

India has more than 300 million 2G subscribers, and the low-cost device will help them benefit from mobile broadband. This will help Jio pull 2G subscribers from rival Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea's networks. This aligns with Jio's 2G mukt Bharat (2G free India) philosophy.

Airtel is also believed to be in talks with domestic device manufacturers to offer affordable 4G smartphones to make it easier for its subscribers to move from 2G to 4G.

As India moves closer to 5G auctions next year, the incumbent telcos will fight to defend their 2G base and to quickly move them to 4G.

The cloud story

Jio and Google have extended their partnership to Google Cloud. As a result, Jio will use Google Cloud for end-to-end automated lifecycle management of its 5G network. It also enables edge computing, which will help Jio provide new applications to its subscribers.

The scale of the cloud partnership seems to be massive, with Jio moving several of its businesses to Google Cloud.

"Cloud solutions is a key area where we are collaborating with Google. Jio will use Google Cloud’s cutting-edge technologies to power Jio's 5G solutions and for powering the internal needs of the key Reliance growth businesses like Reliance Retail, JioMart, Jiosaavn and JioHealth," said Ambani.

Want to know more about the cloud? Check out our dedicated cloud-native networks and NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

Significantly, Jio and Google Cloud will also work together to bring a "portfolio of 5G edge computing solutions to help industries address real business challenges."

Jio will build new services in "gaming, healthcare, education and video entertainment sectors. These services will use Jio's 5G network, software and Google Cloud's innovations in AI/ML, data and analytics, and other cloud-native technologies—delivered by Jio and powered by Google Cloud."

In 2020, Airtel and Google Cloud had partnered to offer services to Indian businesses.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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