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JioPhone Next, co-developed with Google, to be most affordable smartphone globally: Mukesh Ambani

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NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday said Jio and Google have jointly developed Made for India ‘JioPhone Next’, a power-packed and affordable smartphone that will be available from September 10.
Ambani promised that JioPhone Next will be the most-affordable smartphone, not just in India but globally, although the pricing was not disclosed.
The companies have also expanded their partnership, wherein Jio and Google Cloud will collaborate on 5G technology.
Speaking at RIL’s 44th annual general meeting, Ambani asserted that an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone is essential to make India ‘2G-mukt’ (free of 2G). India still has nearly 300 million mobile users who are unable to escape from inefficient and exorbitant 2G services since most basic 4G smartphones remain unaffordable, he added.
“I am pleased to announce that Google and Jio teams have jointly developed a truly breakthrough smartphone that we are calling, JioPhone Next that has been jointly developed by Jio and Google especially for the Indian market,” he said.
To be available from September 10 on Ganesh Chaturthi, JioPhone Next packs a punch with cutting-edge features including voice assistant, language translation, automatic read-aloud of screen text, and smart camera with augmented reality filters and security updates.
“As you have come to expect from Jio, it is my promise that JioPhone Next will be, by far, the most-affordable smartphone not just in India but globally,” Ambani said.
Last year, Google had announced an investment of Rs 33,737 crore for a 7.7 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ technology venture Jio Platforms. The tech giant had teamed up on technology initiatives, including development of affordable smartphones for the price-sensitive yet tech-savvy Indian market.
The fully-featured smartphones will support the entire gamut of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as Android PlayStore through which users will have access to the full universe of Android apps.
“This is a testimony to a global technology giant and a national technology champion working jointly to make a breakthrough product… that can be first introduced in India and then taken to the rest of the world,” Ambani said.
Jio has democratised digital connectivity in India, offering the highest quality, most affordable 4G broadband services in the world, he added.
“Sundar (Google CEO Sundar Pichai) and I had talked about Google and Jio co-developing a next-generation, feature-rich, but extremely affordable smartphone aimed at providing first-time internet access for 2G users,” Ambani said while making the JioPhone Next announcement on Thursday.
Pichai said an optimised version of the Android OS has been developed especially for this device.
“It’s built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users, who will experience the internet for the first time,” he said.
Pichai said Google’s vision is to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and empower businesses with technology.
The smartphone is built for India and will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time, he added.
For users who might not be able to read content in their language, the phone will allow users to translate what’s on their screen with a tap of a button, and even have it read back to them in their own language.
‘Read Aloud’ and ‘Translate Now’ are now operating system (OS)-wide features that will work with any text on users’ phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos.
The smartphone comes equipped with a fast, high-quality camera that will yield clearer photos at night and in low-light situations. Google has also partnered with Snap (parent company of photo sharing app Snapchat) to integrate India-specific Snapchat Lenses directly into the phone’s camera.
Rival Bharti Airtel, meanwhile, welcomed the low-end smartphone initiative announced by Reliance Jio and Google.
“We support every effort that triggers the upgradation of feature phones to smartphones so as to bring more Indians online,” it said in an e-mail response claiming that as customers with entry-level devices upgrade to quality smartphones (priced over Rs 7,000), they demonstrate a strong preference for Airtel.
India is among the biggest smartphone markets globally with devices under Rs 10,000 accounting for a significant share. According to Counterpoint Research, India’s smartphone shipments grew 23 per cent year-on-year to reach over 38 million units in the March 2021 quarter, the highest-ever first quarter shipments.
New product launches, promotions and financial schemes, as well as higher demand on account of work and study from home amid the pandemic have been strong drivers for the market in the last few quarters. The top-five players in the Indian market include Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo and Realme.

The feature phone market registered a 14 per cent y-o-y growth during the quarter driven by strong shipments of JioPhone under its new model and subsequent promotions, as per Counterpoint.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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After 5G equipment, Tata Group looking to enter semiconductor manufacturing

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NEW DELHI: Tata Group is looking to make a foray into semiconductor manufacturing, Chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Monday.

Pegging the market opportunity of high-tech manufacturing of electronics at USD 1 trillion, Chandrasekaran said Tata Group has already set up a business to seize the opportunity.

His remarks come days after the USD 100-billion group announced entry into 5G equipment manufacturing and a string of acquisitions to create the Tata Digital business.

Semiconductor manufacturing, which involves building chipsets among other things, requires high investments and India does not have any such facility yet.

Chandrasekaran explained that alterations to the global supply chains, which are heavily dependent on China, in the aftermath of the pandemic and geopolitical changes, will make businesses shift their reliance on other countries and called this a huge opportunity for India, which becomes the second base.

At the Tata Group, we have already pivoted into a number of new businesses like electronics manufacturing, 5G network equipment as well as semiconductors, in all probability.

On rebalancing supply chains, India can significantly benefit from the geopolitical shifts that we are seeing. At the group, we have already set up a business to seize the promise of high-tech manufacturing of electronics, precision manufacturing, assembly and testing and semiconductors in the medium term, he said while speaking at IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s AGM.

He, however, did not elaborate on the exact plans on this front for the group.

Chandrasekaran said he sees four trends emerging in the post-pandemic world — rapid digital acceleration, new approach to supply chains, a re-imagination of growth with environmental sustainability at the core and inclusion of health and wellness concerns by every business.

The four themes will play into each of our own existing businesses, and they are also leading to brand new initiatives for the Tata Group, he said.

Tata Digital is building multiple platforms including a consumer offering covering retail, travel, financial services, health and education, which will target both high-frequency buys and also discretionary spends, he said.

Chandrasekaran said when it comes to environmental sustainability, businesses need to have time-bound goals, not vague and distant targets, and it is critical to invest in research and development in future growth sectors such as renewable energy which is likely to see 20 new sources of power emerging in the next two decades.

Given where India is in our development curve, we have an opportunity to address our jobs challenge through a leapfrog to a green economy, through solar installation, microgrids, sustainable cooling, and better waste management. At the Tata Group, we are looking at all of these sectors, he said.

Chandrasekaran, who took over the group chairmanship after leading its IT arm TCS, said there is a need to adopt artificial intelligence, cloud and data more aggressively, and Tata Group considers this as a top priority.

Chairman of the group, which devotes nearly all its profits to philanthropic causes, also spoke about the inequities which are being created because of the pandemic and urged for a fast-paced rollout of services to universalize education and healthcare services.

Solving such problems using digital technologies will also create employment opportunities, especially for the low skilled people, and help create a market, Chandrasekaran said, expecting them to deliver 30 million new jobs.

He said with hybrid working possibilities, a good number of the 120 million women educated till the secondary school level can get jobs, and added that this alone can add USD 440 billion to the GDP.

Source: Press Trust of India

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5G roamers to surpass 200 million by 2026

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NEW DELHI:A new Juniper Research study has found that the global number of roaming subscribers using 5G services will increase from 4.5 million in 2021 to 210 million in 2026.

As the international travel industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it recommends that operators must now focus on increasing 5G roaming support to accommodate the future rise in demand for data when roaming over 5G networks.

The new research, 5G Roaming Strategies: Future Outlook, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, urges roaming vendors to develop 5G-enabled roaming features such as:

Roaming analytics
Sponsored roaming
Steering of roaming
These services will support the management of an increasing number of 5G roaming connections, the rise in demand for 5G roaming data, and help operators to maximise 5G roaming monetisation.

For more insights, download our free whitepaper: The Rise of the 5G Roaming Empire

5G Roaming Data to Represent 115 Million Hours of 4K Video by 2026

The report predicts that, as 5G roaming proliferates, vendor competition around the 5G-enabled roaming services mentioned above will intensify. Subscribers will expect comparable levels of bandwidth and latency when roaming over 5G to home network connectivity, and roaming vendors must accommodate this demand via value-added services.

The study projects that global roaming data traffic from 5G subscribers will increase from 2.6 PB in 2021 to 770 PB by 2026; representing enough data to stream 115 million hours of 4K video from platforms such as Netflix.

5G Technology to Necessitate Roaming Overhaul

In addition, the research found that this anticipated rise in data will necessitate the establishment of novel agreements that explicitly cover 5G roaming data, and provide roaming subscribers with comparable user experiences whilst roaming.

Research author Scarlett Woodford noted “As demand for international travel returns, operators must adjust to the significant uptake of 5G subscriptions during the pandemic. A failure to provide 5G roaming capabilities in key travel destinations will diminish brand reputation amongst subscribers and lead to churn to competitors”

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Ericsson signs $8.3 billion 5G deal with Verizon

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NEW DELHI:Ericsson said that it has signed $8.3 billion agreement with Verizon to provide its industry-leading 5G solutions to accelerate the deployment of Verizon’s world-class next-generation 5G network in the U.S.

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “This is a significant strategic partnership for both companies and what we’re most excited about is bringing the benefits of 5G to U.S. consumers, enterprises and the public sector. We’re looking forward to working with Verizon to leverage solutions like Cloud RAN and our Street Macro, adding depth and versatility to 5G network rollouts across the U.S.”

“With this new agreement, we will be able to continue driving innovation and widespread adoption of 5G,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon. “We are pleased to continue this work through our long-standing relationship with Ericsson.”

Under this $8.3 billion USD agreement, Verizon will deploy Ericsson’s 5G MIMO C-band, low-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) solutions to enhance and expand Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, network performance and user experience. Ericsson’s technology solutions, including Massive MIMO, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson Cloud RAN, complement the high-performing Ericsson Radio System portfolio to support 5G services. Ericsson’s industry-leading software functionality provides end-users with the speed and performance they expect from 5G networks.

In 2020, Verizon was the first communications service provider to receive a commercial 5G mmWave Street Macro base station from Ericsson’s award-winning new state-of-the-art U.S. smart factory in Lewisville, Texas. Ericsson is committed to building and accelerating the nationwide build-out of 5G across the country.

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