Mukesh Ambani tells India Mobile Congress that Reliance Jio will pioneer India's 5G revolution

Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani called on PM Narendra Modi to take "urgent policy steps" to accelerate the early rollout of 5G in India, and to make it "affordable and available" everywhere.
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In his inaugural address at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020 on Tuesday, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani put his faith in the Indian economy and said that it "will not only bounce back, but will also grow with unprecedented acceleration".

"India can — and India will — prove cynics wrong by becoming a $5 trillion economy. It will be a more equal India with increased incomes, increased employment, and improved quality of life for one billion Indians at the middle and bottom of the economic pyramid," he said.

Ambani also highlighted the critical role played by digital transformation in India's COVID-19 fightback, calling it the country's "lifeline" in the face of adversity. He shared,

"Throughout 2020, India worked online, studied online, shopped online, received healthcare online, socialised online, played online… Simply put, India thrived online. This underscores the phenomenal evolution of digital technology in India. From being a means of limited engagement and entertainment, it has evolved into a platform of unlimited enablement and empowerment."

"India has the historic opportunity to become the world’s pre-eminent digital society with ease of living for all," he added.

Mukesh Ambani

'Jio will pioneer 5G revolution'

The Reliance Industries Chairman called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to undertake "urgent policy steps" to empower India's 300 million mobile subscribers, who "are still trapped in the 2G era", with affordable smartphones.

"So that they too can benefit from Direct Benefit Transfer into their bank accounts and actively participate in the digital economy," he explained.

Incidentally, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited is working with Google(one of its equity investors) to build a low-cost Android smartphone that is expected to launch in early 2021. The device will come bundled with data packs, and Reliance Industriesis said to have held discussions with homegrown vendors for manufacturing 100 million handsets.

Ambani also stated that "policy steps are needed" to accelerate the early rollout of 5G in India, and to make it "affordable and available" everywhere.

"I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021. It will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware, and technology components," he said.

Reliance believes that 5G will enable India to not only participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution but also to lead it.

And the $65 billion-Jio Platforms, with its family of over 20 startup partners, has built state-of-the-art capabilities in AI, cloud computing, Big Data, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, and so on.

"We are creating compelling home-grown solutions in education, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure, financial services and new commerce," Ambani revealed.

Reliance also anticipates "enormous growth" in the demand for digital hardware in future, and believes that India has to be self-reliant to address those needs. "We cannot rely on large-scale imports in this area of critical national need," Ambani said.

"When all the stakeholders work together, we can surely ensure that India’s success in hardware will match our success in software," he added on Day One of IMC 2020.

IMC, one of Asia's largest technology forums, is jointly organised by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India.

"In a short period of four years, it has earned a proud place in the annual calendar of global conversations on digital technologies," Ambani stated.

Edited by Megha Reddy