In a flurry of announcements underlining its plans for an aggressive 5G rollout in India, the giant operator Reliance Jio has revealed partnerships with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Meta and Intel.
The deals with hardware and software giants Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Cisco are related to plans for its 5G network in the country. As India’s Economic Times points out, Reliance Jio is bringing in new telecom vendors to deploy the 5G network, whereas Samsung was the sole technology provider for the 4G version.
Jio and Google, meanwhile, plan to develop an ultra-affordable 5G smartphone (having worked together on a 4G phone in the past) and are working together on Google Cloud. Jio is working with Microsoft to expand Azure ecosystem cloud-enabled business applications and solutions for small and medium enterprises in India. It is also working with Intel for cloud-scale data centres and 5G edge locations.
In another cloud-related deal, Qualcomm has said it will work with Jio on cloud-native 5G infrastructure in both the millimetre-wave and sub-6GHz spectrum to develop an ecosystem that can serve India and beyond. Jio is also working with Meta for immersive technology-based use cases.
Much of this is, not surprisingly, being pitched as supporting Indian innovation and manufacturing. Mukesh Ambani, chairman of parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has been widely quoted as saying: "Jio is privileged to have some of the world’s leading technology players as strong partners in the ‘Made in India’ 5G collaboration."
The standalone 5G Jio network is to launch in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by late October this year, with a phased rollout that will cover the entire country in 18 months by December 2023.