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5G motivation behind investment in Jio but deal not exclusive; looking at more cos: Qualcomm

Qualcomm's investment into RIL's Jio Platforms is in line with the company's vision of investing in innovations in the tech market, said Rajen Vagadia, President - Qualcomm India & SAARC.
San Diego-based Qualcomm, the world's leader in 5G products and solutions, invested Rs 730 crore in Jio Platforms earlier this month, raising excitement in the telecom world. Reason? With Jio hoping to make a big splash in 5G, an association with Qualcomm gives it a big leg-up.
"Qualcomm has been present in India for the last 24 years. This investment has been done by Qualcomm ventures and it's one of the various interventions we at Qualcomm do to support innovation in the India technology market," said Vagadia while speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18.
"While it looks like an investment, it also comes with a lot of other things - support on products, technology, engineering, market exposure. Qualcomm has a global presence. This global presence and global knowledge brought to you from the globe to the partner (Jio) enables them to develop solutions. When they develop solutions, it is customised to India. The missions is very clear. It is about acceleration in the pace of mobile innovation and not across just mobile industry," added Vagadia.
Vagadia said there could "not be any better partner than Qualcomm" for Jio as it ventures into 5G infrastructure. "This is basically enabling the innovations that we will see in 5G that Jio will bring to the market."
So what do Jio and Qualcomm bring to the table together?
Vagadia explains that while this is a financial investment, such investments are made when there is a common vision. "Qualcomm invests in multiple cos and this is one of them. What we bring in is a deep insight into the global market. WhatJio brings to the table is a deep insight into the end-users in India. Jio has been a pioneer in delivering a new set of services," he says.
Qualcomm is a world leader in wireless technology. It has specialised in 3G and 4G but brings an unbeatable 2 years of experience in designing 5G products and solutions. It is also a pioneer in solutions like IOT, machine learning, artificial reality, virtual reality, etc.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon systems on a chip (SoC) is used by many leading smartphones. As Jio gets ready to launch an affordable 4G and possible 5G smartphone and operating system and develop its own 'Made in India' 5G products, Qualcomm will give it an edge.
While Vagadia didn't confirm if Qualcomm will handle the chipsets for the new Jio and Google phones, he outlined that the partnership will pave way for many tie-ups across products. Jio recently also applied for the government's upcoming 5G trials and Vagadia said that Qualcomm was looking forward to partnering with them.
Qualcomm still looking to invest across tech and telecom innovations
When asked if this deal stops its investment in the sector, Vagadia had a clear 'no'. "It's not an exclusive deal. We will keep investing in companies. Qualcomm invests in startups and technologies where we see an alignment. There is a pipeline of companies that we will look at for investment. In this case (Jio investment), the motivation was 5G, while 4G and 4G related investments will continue. As 5G comes up we will be focussing on investing in companies which are creating fundamental innovations in IOT, machine learning, AI."
(Disclosure: Network18, the parent company of, is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.)