Intel to invest $253.5m in Indian telecoms firm Jio Platforms

3 Jul 2020

A Jio storefront in Bengaluru. Image: Lakshmiprasad/Depositphotos

With Intel’s investment, Indian telecoms business Jio Platforms is now valued at $65bn.

Intel has announced its plans to invest $253.5m in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms. Over the last few months, General Atlantic, Facebook, Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners have also invested in the Indian telecoms business.

Through its investment arm, Intel Capital, the US-based chipmaker is purchasing a 0.39pc stake in Jio Platforms, bringing the Indian company’s valuation to $65bn. Jio Platforms has raised $15.5bn in funding by selling a 25pc stake in recent months.

The company is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, which was founded by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. It owns India’s largest mobile network operator Jio and other digital businesses.

Through Jio Platforms, Ambani invested $33bn to build out India’s 4G broadband service network. The telecoms business now has more than 388m subscribers and has launched other services including music streaming, consumer electronics, on-demand live television and a payments service.

In 2021, the company plans to open a Jio University, with programmes related to artificial intelligence, data science, digital media and integrated marketing communication for undergraduates.

‘Fuel digital transformation in India’

Ambani said that Intel’s investment would have an impact on India’s entire population.

“Intel Capital has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. We are therefore excited to work together with Intel to advance India’s capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of our economy and improve the quality of life of 1.3bn Indians.”

Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital president, added: “Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives.

“We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better. Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence.”

Last month, Reliance Jio Platforms said that recent investment deals have helped the company to become net-debt free. It plans to end its fundraising spree by the third quarter of 2020, before exploring an IPO in the US, according to Reuters.

This week, Jio Platforms also launched its new video conferencing service, JioMeet. TechCrunch remarked that the software looks “uncannily” like Zoom, though JioMeet provides unlimited free calls with a time limit of up to 24 hours on each session.

A Jio Platforms storefront in Bengaluru. Image: Lakshmiprasad/Depositphotos

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic