Mumbai: Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani announced on Monday that he will invest $25 billion to launch a 5G network in India. This is intended to consolidate his hold on one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. Reliance, India’s most valuable company In his annual speech to Industries’ shareholders, his second-richest man in Asia said, “Digital freedom is something every Indian is born with. I believe it is my right to be.”

Ambani’s multi-billion dollar empire was built on petroleum and petrochemicals, but in recent years has diversified into new areas such as telecommunications, retail and renewable energy.

The 2016 birth of Jio, the telecommunications division that offers ultra-cheap data speeds, sparked a fierce price war that cost competitors years of losses. Earlier this month, Jio wiped out more than a third of his available spectrum in India’s first 5G spectrum auction, bidding for 881 billion rupees ($11 billion).

Ambani, who announced a 2 trillion rupee ($25 billion) investment, said Jio will have 5G services in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in time for India’s Diwali festival in late October. said to start. Ambani said it plans to roll out across India, aiming to cover all districts of the country (an area of ​​3.3 million square kilometers) by December 2023.

“We are committed to making India the world’s largest data-driven economy, ahead of China and the US. Jio 5G will be the world’s largest and most advanced 5G network,” said Ambani. said. Global tech giants such as Google, Facebook owner Meta, Intel and Qualcomm have invested billions of dollars in Reliance’s digital arm, Jio Platforms, in recent years.

Ambani said the newly launched collaboration between Meta and Jio will allow users to buy groceries via the instant messaging app WhatsApp.

Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post: In June, Ambani’s 30-year-old son Akash was named chairman of Geo Infocom, a subsidiary of Geo Platform, sparking speculation about his succession plans.

Ambani stopped announcing a leadership change at Monday’s AGM and instead asked shareholders to bless his three children Isha, Akash and Anant. The 65-year-old business mogul was Asia’s richest man until this year, but was ousted by his fellow Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.

India has the second largest number of smartphone users after China. As the world’s sixth-largest economy seeks to close a technology gap with rivals such as South Korea, China and the United States, the country’s 5G push has lagged far behind. Reliance Industries shares closed 0.69% lower in Mumbai following the announcement. – AFP

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