Intel’s venture capital unit had last year invested $250 million (about Rs 1,857.42 crore) in Reliance’s Jio Platforms unit, saying the two companies would explore areas of technology partnership. On Monday, Intel said it would work with Reliance Jio on ‘co-innovation’ for its 5G radio-access network (RAN), among other things.
“It’s the fruit of that partnership,” Naveen Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms group at Intel, told Reuters in an interview. 5G is going to happen in a big way in India and (Reliance Jio) is going to do it in a non-legacy way.”
Reliance Jio is one of many carriers around the world using a new approach to building 5G networks. Instead of using gear primarily from telecom-specific firms such as Nokia, Ericsson or Huawei, carriers are increasingly turning to software to handle more network functions. For this they are exploiting the same standard computing devices used in data centers to run the network.
Intel, for its part, is losing share in its core data center and personal computing markets to rivals like Advanced Micro Devices after years of manufacturing problems. But networking chips have become an important part of its business. It grew sales of networking chips by 20 percent in 2020 and its market share to $6 billion (about Rs 44,577.27 crore). While its total sales are $ 77.9 billion (about Rs 5,78,756.61 crore).
Dan Rodriguez, general manager of Intel’s network platforms group, said the growth stemmed from a decision almost a decade ago when Intel decided to invest in software for an operating system for its network chips. FlexRAN allows system carriers or software firms to write code for 5G networks.
Intel said on Monday that software from Cohere Technologies could double the use of some network spectrum using Intel’s chips. This benefits the carriers who spend billions to get spectrum rights.