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Qualcomm, Mukesh Ambani's Jio team up to ready 5G for India

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Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Jio Platforms is working with Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions and accelerate efforts to bring the high-speed network to the world's No 2 mobile market by users.

[MUMBAI] Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Jio Platforms is working with Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions and accelerate efforts to bring the high-speed network to the world's No 2 mobile market by users.

Jio, which includes the tycoon's wireless operator, and its wholly-owned US-based unit Radisys are partnering Qualcomm Technologies to "fast track the development and roll out of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India", according to a joint statement late on Tuesday.

While India has yet to auction airwaves for 5G, Mr Ambani has been preparing Jio for the fifth-generation wireless service with what he calls a technology developed in-house. That means his carrier won't need to spend much to switch to the new system, unlike some of its rivals, according to him. That also leaves Jio immune to political disputes linked to Chinese equipment vendors that global operators are embroiled in.

Mr Ambani has also expressed interest in selling the technology to other carriers if it is rolled out successfully in his home market. Jio debuted in India four years ago, offering free calls and cheap data. Now, it is the nation's biggest carrier with about 400 million users. The company is planning to introduce an inexpensive 5G smartphone that would eventually cost less than US$40, Press Trust of India reported on Oct 18, citing an official.

With Jio at the centre of his ambitions, Asia's richest man has set about transforming his energy conglomerate Reliance Industries into a technology titan. He's set his sights on e-commerce, seeking to take on Amazon.com and Walmart's local unit in India, and raised more than US$20 billion this year by selling stakes in Jio to investors including Facebook and Google.

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