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Reliance Jio pledges free cloud connectivity to Indian start-ups as telco announces 10-year Azure partnership

Written by Tue 13 Aug 2019

Indian telco pledges free connectivity and cloud infrastructure to start-ups as company enters India’s cloud services market

Indian telco Reliance Jio has announced a partnership with Microsoft Azure that will see the carrier deliver connectivity, computing, storage and other applications to the Indian market.

As part of the 10-year deal, Jio will construct data centres across India that will be hosted on Microsoft Azure. The first two data centres will be built in the states of Gujarat and Maharastra and will be fully operational by 2021.

Microsoft Azure will also be deployed within Jio’s connectivity infrastructure as part of the company’s network-function virtualisation efforts.

It is the first time Reliance Jio has entered into the cloud services market. The telco disrupted the Indian telecoms industry in 2016 by aggressively undercutting rivals, prompting rival shutdowns and mergers in a previously crowded sector. The company has since expanded to offer a broad range of consumer and business technologies, including IoT devices, streaming services and fibre optic broadband.

Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is also India’s richest man, revealed the company intends to employ the same aggressive pricing strategy to the cloud services market. Analysts predict this could threaten AWS’s dominance in the sector, which is expected to grow at an average of 23 percent over the next five years to $5.6 billion.

Ambani said Jio would provide free connectivity and cloud infrastructure to start-ups and connectivity, productivity and automation bundles to SMBs for just £17 per month, a fraction of the cost of equivalent AWS and Google Cloud services.

“We now have the capability to develop truly India-native solutions, including speech recognition and natural language understanding for all major Indian languages and dialects,” Ambani said.

“By working together to develop innovative and affordable cloud-enabled digital solutions built around Jio’s world-class digital infrastructure and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, we will accelerate the digitisation of the Indian economy and make Indian businesses globally competitive.”

Drafts of India’s upcoming data privacy law indicate that the government will force companies to store consumer data locally, even if they are based overseas, increasing the premium of cloud services providers who can guarantee Indian consumer data will be stored in local data centres.

Written by Tue 13 Aug 2019


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