July 12, 2020 / 5:20 PM / 23 days ago

Reliance's digital unit wins Qualcomm backing in boost to 5G plans

FILE PHOTO: Commuters are reflected on an advertisement of Reliance Industries' Jio telecoms unit, at a bus stop in Mumbai, India, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Reliance Industries said on Sunday Qualcomm Inc’s investment arm will buy a 0.15% stake in its digital unit Jio Platforms for 7.3 billion rupees ($97.1 million).

The partnership will help Jio Platforms, the unit that houses Reliance’s telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, to “roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”, Reliance said in a statement.

Qualcomm’s move comes at a time India is preparing to auction 5G airwaves to telecoms service providers.

With this new investment, Reliance has sold a 25.2% stake in Jio Platforms to investors in a funding spree that began late April, raising $15.69 billion.

Although Jio Platforms also comprises Reliance’s music and movie apps, Jio Infocomm - the mobile carrier - is its centrepiece.

Reliance chairman and billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani has always pitched Jio Infocomm as a tech company instead of a traditional telecoms firm.

That has helped Ambani win the backing of major tech firms such as Facebook Inc, Intel and now Qualcomm.

“Qualcomm offers deep technology know-how and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India for both people and enterprises,” Ambani said in the statement.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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