Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio has a new fan⁠— Donald Trump’s right-hand man calls it a 'clean telco'

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and India's richest man Mukesh Ambani (R)Wikimedia/BCCL
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio a “clean telco” pitting it as a lead competitor against Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
  • The US has been pushing an anti-China agenda, which could play to Jio’s advantage, which has already filed to test its 5G technology in labs.
  • India too wants to curb the use of Huawei in the midst of India-China tensions along the border.
US President Donald Trump’s right-hand man — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — described India’s Reliance Jio as a ‘clean telco’ putting Mukesh Ambani’s three-year-old enterprise on the global map.

The US has been bidding to keep Chinese telecom giant Huawei out of the race and Pompeo’s remarks may play in favour of India’s richest man — and world’s ninth richest business tycoon, who just raised $23 billion from investors at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Pompeo vouching for Jio will lift the image of the company, which is so far seen as an Indian giant that has Facebook as an investor and Microsoft as a strategic partner — but not necessarily as an international player.
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This puts Jio in the big leagues with others like Nokia, Huawei, Qualcomm, Verizon and AT&T.

“Huawei’s deals with telecommunications operators around the world are evaporating because companies are only allowing trusted vendors in their 5G networks,” said Pompeo citing the example of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden and others.

Reliance Industries share priceBSE/BI India

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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is getting 5G-ready
So far, Indian telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been heavily relying on Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE for network equipment. Jio has been using Samsung but working on its own technology.

According to Reliance Industries, Jio’s parent company, its 4G network is future-ready to transition to 5G. “Jio with its 5G-ready network and extensive fibre assets would play a key role in the development of the 5G ecosystem in India, based on market dynamics,” Reliance Industries said in its annual report.

Ambani’s already filed applications with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to start testing Jio’s 5G technology in its labs. If it succeeds it will be the first carrier in the world to develop its own 5G undercutting the need to partner with the likes Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.

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India and US want to corner China
Just as the US has been souring on the idea of Huawei's 5G network technology as its own issues with China escalate, India too has been playing with the idea of keeping Huawei out of the country in lieu of the India-China border tension in Ladakh.

Even though no decision has been made for private carriers, the Indian government has already announced a ban on Huawei and ZTE for publicly-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), which could open the doors for Jio to capitalise on the opportunity.

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