Jio Platforms prepares for 5G with Qualcomm funding

Qualcomm committed to acquiring a stake in Reliance Industries’ digital unit for INR7.3 billion ($97.1 million), as the India conglomerate expanded a partnership with the US-based chipmaker to prepare for 5G.

The US company’s investment arm Qualcomm Ventures will take a 0.15 per cent stake in Jio Platforms. In a statement, Reliance Industries said the move deepens ties with Qualcomm and helps Jio Platforms on “its journey to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”.

India is expected to hold a 5G spectrum auction in 2021, after a planned sale was delayed due to the poor financial health of the industry and worries the reserve price was too high to attract interest.

Reliance Industries chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani said Qualcomm “offers deep technology know-how and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India”.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said: “Jio Platforms has led the digital revolution in India through its extensive digital and technological capabilities. As an enabler and investor with a long-standing presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio’s vision to further revolutionise India’s digital economy.”

The investment brings the total stake in Jio Platforms sold by Reliance Industries to 25.24 per cent, with deals involving 12 companies raising INR1.183 trillion.