A billion Indians will get faster internet via Google Cloud Jio: Pichai

Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, on Thursday, during Reliance Industries’ Annual General Meeting (AGM), announced that JioPhone Next, a smartphone developed jointly by Reliance Jio Google will be available in the Indian market starting September 10, 2021.

Ambani claimed that JioPhone Next will be a full-feature smartphone, the most affordable in the market, but didn’t disclose the price range. Some of the phone’s features include voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation smart camera with augmented reality filters.

Speaking about the Google-Jio partnership, Google Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said: “JioPhone Next is powered by an optimised version of Android OS jointly developed by Jio Google. It is ultra-affordable packs cutting-edge features.”

Pichai added that Google’s vision with the Jio partnership was to bring affordable access to information for Indians. “Next steps in this vision start with a new, affordable, Jio smartphone, created with Google. It is built for India it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for first time.”

Pichai also spoke about both companiers partnering on 5G network technology. “A new 5G partnership between Google Cloud Jio will help more than a billion Indians connect to a faster internet, support businesses in digital transformation lay foundation for next phase of India’s digitisation,” he said.

“We are proud to play a part in India’s next wave of technological innovation. Helping to connect 1.3 billion Indians to the opportunities the internet creates is meaningful to us at Google – certainly to me personally,” Pichai added.

Launched in 2016, Reliance Jio soon captured the India telecom market with its cheap data plans, often considered the most affordable in the world. Today, Jio is India’s largest data carrier with 422 million customers. Google last year invested $4.5 billion in Jio’s parent Jio Platforms, a move that landed the US tech giant a board seat alongside rival Facebook which has also pumped $5.7 billion into the digital unit. Ambani has previously said Jio, which also counts Qualcomm Inc Intel Corp among its backers, would “pioneer the 5G revolution” in India in 2021. The launch of the affordable smartphone would be a big step in the company’s ambitious plans to help the existing 2G 3G users migrate to the prevalent 4G mobile networks, in future, become users of Jio’s 5G offering.

During the AGM, Ambani also talked about his company’s fixed broadboperator JioFiber. “With a cumulative base of 3 million active home business users, JioFiber has become the largest the fastest-growing fixed broadboperator in India,” Ambani said.

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