As we fast approach the 44th annual general meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries on June 24, there may be a lot at stake on many fronts, as the push for setting the benchmarks is well and truly under way. This follows up last year’s AGM, which was the first ever in a virtual format, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the same format will likely be carried forward, with announcements expected to talk about the journey so far and the forward plans for RIL, Reliance Foundation, Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail. It may be important, with that as the backdrop, to revisit the announcements around Reliance Jio last year. These would include the made in India push for 5G mobile networks and the investment by Google which also has Reliance Jio and Google working together for an affordable 5G phone.
Make In India Push For Jio 5G: Reliance Jio gave India it’s biggest push yet for 5G mobile networks, when the company announced the focus on 5G as a technology and the commitment to make a home-grown 5G solution for mobile networks. “Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. It will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year,” Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, had said at the time. This announcement resonated widely at a time when the anti-China sentiment was at a high in India, and also coincided with the US and China trade war which put 5G tech made by Chinese companies including Huawei, in the limelight, as threats to national security, economic security, privacy, intellectual and human rights. Reliance Jio has plans to launch 5G services in India by the end of the year.
Google Investment And 5G For The Masses: Reliance Jio continues to focus on pushing affordable 5G smartphones in India, ahead of the expected 5G rollout in the coming months. Reliance Industries announced the Rs 33,373 crore investment by technology giant Google in Jio Platforms for a 7.7% stake, at the RIL AGM last year. “As India is standing at the doorsteps of the 5G era, we should accelerate the migration of 350 million Indians, who currently use a 2G feature phone, to an affordable smart phone”, said Mukesh Ambani. “Have sold 100 million Jio Phones till date. But there are many feature phone users waiting to upgrade to a conventional smart phone. We believe we can design an entry level 4G or even a 5G smart phone. We believe that we can design such a phone at a fraction of the current cost. Google and Jio are partnering to build a value-engineered Android based smartphone Operation System,” he added. The attempt is to get all users in India to upgrade from 2G mobile networks to a much faster data experience.
Jio-Google Affordable Android Phone For India: Reliance Jio also announced that they are working with tech giant Google, for a custom Android-based smartphone operating system which is expected to power the affordable 5G smartphones, while retaining strengths including the Google Play Store for apps. This platform will also be developed in India. Whether we would see the new Jio and Google smartphone at this year’s AGM, is still not clear. Jio also says they will also provide affordable 4G and 5G devices to more than 300 million feature phone users in India. JioPhone remains the most affordable 4G phone in the world. “Google and Jio Platforms have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store. Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones,” said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head & VP, India at Google, said in an official statement, at the time.
JioTV+ And Binge Watching: Last year, Reliance Jio gave the JioTV platform a big push with the JioTV+ product that features aggregated content from streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, SonyLiv, Zee5, JioCinema, JioSaavn, YouTube and more. There is also voice search functionality and is a prime functionality of the Jio set-top box for TVs, which is part of the larger JioFiber broadband service bundle for home users. “For decades, TV content has been largely broadcast-dependent without any interactivity. With JioFiber, we have reimagined this experience and brought interactivity to TV,” the company said, while announcing the JioTV+ product.
JioGlass And The Super Cool Quotient: This was an incredibly cool piece of technology that Reliance Jio showed off at the AGM in 2020. The product is called JioGlass and this virtual reality headset is designed for multiple use cases, including for teachers and students to enable 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic classes through the Jio Mixed Reality cloud in real-time. “Jio Glass is at the cutting edge of technology that provides best-in-class Mixed Reality services to give users a truly meaningful immersive experience,” says Kiran Thomas, President, Reliance Industries Limited. “With Jio Glass, the traditional way of learning Geography will now be History,” he added. Jio Glass followed the Jio HoloBoard Mixed Reality Headset which Reliance Jio had demoed in 2019, the year before, and is part of the company’s continued focus on technology driven solutions including mixed reality and augmented reality.