Reliance Jio and Google have further strengthened their partnership with a bunch of initiatives announced at the 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Ltd. There is a definite push towards democratization of technology and investing in technology infrastructure. This ties in well with the mission both companies are on—taking technology to the masses. Reliance says Jio is India’s Digital Lifeline, while Google has invested heavily in the Google For India Digitization Fund. In fact, Google’s first and biggest equity investment from this Rs 75,000 crore fund was in Reliance Jio last year. This year, the two companies are working together for the super affordable JioPhone Next 4G smartphone and the 5G partnership between Jio and Google Cloud.
At the remarks delivered during the RIL AGM, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that the 5G partnership with Jio will help get faster and better internet to more than a billion Indians while the JioPhone Next will tap into the mission to bring affordable access to information for Indians, in their local spoken languages. The JioPhone Next, when it arrives later this year, will be amongst the most affordable smartphones not just in India, but globally. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries called it a “truly breakthrough smartphone”. The JioPhone Next will run Google’s Android operating system, and it is expected that there will be certain customizations to make certain features more accessible for users.
“I’m excited that today, we can announce the next steps in this vision, starting with a new, affordable Jio smartphone, created with Google. 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,” says Sundar Pichai. JioPhone Next users will get access to key Android services, including the Google Play Store. Other features include a voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation and smart camera with augmented reality filters. The Read Aloud and Translate Now will be system-wide features that will work with any text on their phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos.
“Jio has truly democratized digital connectivity in India by offering the highest quality, most affordable 4G broadband services in the world. Google and Jio teams have jointly developed a truly breakthrough smartphone that we are calling JioPhone Next. JioPhone Next is powered by an extremely optimized version of the Android operating system,” says Mukesh Ambani. Reliance Jio has more than 425 million subscribers in India and has become the first mobile operator outside of China to cross the 400 million user mark. Reliance Jio is also the world’s second largest data carrier, with as much as 630 crore gigabytes (GB) of data traffic on the network every month. Jio has invested as much as Rs 57,123 crore to get additional spectrum for their 4G network and say that almost all of the new spectrum has been deployed.
Pichai is also confident that the Jio and Google Cloud partnership for 5G mobile networks will help get faster internet to users across India. There is a larger focus on infrastructure and digitization as well. “It will help more than a billion Indians connect to a faster and better internet, support businesses in their digital transformation, and help Jio build new services in sectors like health, education and more — laying a foundation for the next phase of India’s digitization,” says Pichai.
There is confirmation that Reliance will also shift its core retail businesses to Google Cloud’s infrastructure. “They will be able take advantage of Google’s AI and machine learning, e-commerce, and demand forecasting offerings,” Pichai says. Google in India wants to play an important role in what they call the next wave of technological innovation. “Empowering businesses as they embark on their digital transformation is a key part of our mission in India,” says Pichai. He says that by helping connect more than 1.3 billion Indians with the internet and smartphones, there will be the creation of opportunities like never before.