Many countries continue to take ambitious strides in the deployment of 5G wireless technology, in the hope of advancing connectivity and the digital economy.
In India where 5G networks were expected to be launched by late 2020 or early 2021, it is now highly unlikely that this will happen before mid-2021, Qualcomm Ventures said it will invest $97 million in Reliance Jio Platforms to support the Indian firm in the future rollout of 5G services in the Indian market.
This investment by Qualcomm Ventures will translate into 0.15% equity stake on a fully diluted basis in the top Indian telecom operator, according to the company.
Qualcomm said it will help Jio Platforms “roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers.”
Jio Platforms, a majority-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is a next-generation technology platform committed to providing digital services across India. With more than 388 million subscribers, it has become the top carrier in the world’s second largest internet market in less than four years of its establishment.
The company has disrupted the Indian telecommunications market after offering reduced rate voice and data plans, while also competing with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
In addition, the telco operator also maneuvers a number of digital services including streaming services for music, live TV channels, movies and shows. Earlier this month, the company added a new service to its arsenal: A video conferencing service. The new feature called JioMeet launched by Jioplatforms, allows users to make an unrestricted amount of calls with each supporting 100 participants at a time lasting for 24 hours. The videoconferencing platform include other features like allowing users to keep a meeting open and can be used on laptops, desktop, mobile devices and other video devices.
Steve Mollenkopf, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm, said the firm believes that Reliance Jio Platforms “will deliver a new set of services and experiences to Indian consumers” in the future.
“With unmatched speeds and emerging use cases, 5G is expected to transform every industry in the coming years. Jio Platforms has led the digital revolution in India through its extensive digital and technological capabilities. As an enabler and investor with a longstanding presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio’s vision to further revolutionize India’s digital economy,” Mollenkopf said.
Reports claim that India expects to grant range for the establishment of 5G next year. The sale of almost 8300 megahertz of airwaves, including 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band and 4G spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands, will be included in the auction.
The government postponed the auction because of the risks that may disrupt the flow of foreign interest – including the poor financial state of the telecom business.