Reliance Jio GenNext, a startup accelerator of telecom operator Reliance Jio Infocomm’s parent Reliance Industries, has made buyout or investment proposals to companies such as Vihaan Networks, Himachal Futuristic Communications, Tejas Networks, Lekha Wireless, Signalchip, Nivetti, Mymo Wireless and Niral Networks to launch a locally built next-generation 5G network.
The move is likely to provide a boost for Reliance Jio to conduct trials on its own technology and design. Reliance Jio GenNext advises and mentors founders of startups and brings them into the Jio fold through commercial partnerships and strategic investments.
“Some of the domestic companies have recently received business proposals from Reliance Jio GenNext, which wants to acquire local firms developing 5G technology-based solutions,” said one of the persons to ET, who did not wish to be identified.
“Jio is looking at Indian companies that are in the final stages to develop 5G components or radio network products since a start from scratch will only drag the final outcome by almost four years,” another person told ET.
The move is also in line with the Indian government’s move to promote Atma Nirbhar (self-reliance) Mission to develop homegrown technology. In July 2020, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani had said during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), the company’s subsidiary Jio Platforms had developed a complete 5G technology, which would enable the company to launch a ‘Made in India’ 5G solution. Ambani had said that the company’s 5G solution would be ready for trial once the country’s 5G auctions begin.
As part of its plans, Reliance Jio claims to be building its own 5G software stack and embrace Open-RAN techniques will help it save up on hefty premium payouts to existing 4G networks suppliers. Moreover, Jio’s pact with Qualcomm Inc would also help it roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services.
In 2018, Reliance had bought US-based Radisys to accelerate innovation in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and open-source based architecture adoption, and its push for local enterprises would further build on the company’s acquired capabilities.
Built On The Back Of Startups
Reliance has entered into nearly 49 merger and acquisitions, strategic investments and joint venture deals globally. Some have been completed while some are still in the process and are about to be completed by next year.
Reliance ventured into tech-dominant businesses with the acquisition of startups such as Haptik, Embibe, C-Square, Fynd, Grab, Netradyne, Tesseract and others. Apart from these, Reliance has made significant investments in global tech startups such as DEN, Hathway, Eros International Plc, Edcast, Karexpert Technologies, Vakt Holdings, Indiavidual Learning Pvt. Ltd, Radisys Corp, Videonetics, Kai OS Technologies and SkyTran Inc. among others.
The strategy has continued well into 2020 as well.