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Qualcomm working with Jio, Flipkart, Amazon to develop 5G use cases for India

Qualcomm’s plans to be a 5G ecosystem enabler in India and participate in the development of country-specific 5G use cases comes at a time when sections in the government and also among India’s older telcos have often maintained that globally popular 5G use cases such as automated cars to robotics surgery won’t work in the India context.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 05, 2019, 12.05 PM IST
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MAUI (HAWAII): Qualcomm Inc, the world’s top supplier of mobile phone chips, is working closely with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Flipkart and Amazon India to develop India-relevant 5G use cases even as the government prepares to auction airwaves backing the next generation technology next year.

“We are in discussions with Reliance Jio’s management along with players such as Flipkart and Amazon India on applications that we could do in India in the 5G context, starting with mobile, going to the home and enterprise levels,” Alex Katouzian, Senior Vice President & GM (Mobile) at Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc, said.

He was speaking to reporters at a media roundtable with Qualcomm’s global leadership at the US chipmaker’s annual tech event in Hawaii’s picturesque Maui island.

Qualcomm Inc president Cristiano Amon, who was also present, said the San Diego-based chipmaker, planned to use a portion of its recently launched $200 million global venture capital fund to “incentivise and support Indian startups in developing cutting-edge 5G applications both for the local and global markets”.

Qualcomm’s plans to be a 5G ecosystem enabler in India and participate in the development of country-specific 5G use cases comes at a time when sections in the government and also among India’s older telcos have often maintained that globally popular 5G use cases such as automated cars to robotics surgery won’t work in the India context.

Qualcomm’s involvement with Jio on evolving country-specific 5G use cases is significant as the Mukesh Ambani-led operator as India’s sole profitable telco has said that it's network is 5G ready.

Qualcomm’s Amon, in fact, has called on the Indian government to put the auction conditions in place for rapid 5G deployments and price spectrum affordably “to incentivise the build-out of 5G networks,” in India.

The San Diego-based cellphones chip maker, has already made a strong pitch for early availability of a combination of 5G spectrum bands in India, including millimetre wave, mid-band and sub-6 airwave categories to maximise the impact of upcoming 5G deployments in the country.

The top Qualcomm executive also urged lawmakers in India to frame regulations that would enable the rollout of private 5G networks by universities and local industrial enterprises besides telcos, using high capacity millimetre wave spectrum, especially as the ultra-fast broadband technology would “be transformative and its economic impact would be far-reaching,” way beyond merely impacting smartphones.

Early 5G deployments, he said, would also be crucial, given India’s big local manufacturing ambitions.

India, he said, has “big manufacturing ambitions,” and since 5G will drive convergence, the technology can play a huge role in digital transformation of enterprises,” especially with the advent of industrial, automotive and smart city applications.

5G or ‘fifth-generation networks,’ are slated to transcend mere smartphones and connect anything from cars, homes, machines to household gadgets with an internet connection at speeds that are nearly 100 times quicker than 4G networks.


(The journalist was in Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm to cover the company’s annual tech conference)

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