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Reliance AGM: Mukesh Ambani announces 5G roadmap, new investments in oil-to-chemicals business

RIL to launch FMCG business this year


Reliance Industries held its 45th annual general meeting on Monday. As has been seen over the last few years, chairman Mukesh Ambani used the occasion to make several big ticket announcements, from the roadmap of 5G network rollout, to huge investments across businesses. Daughter Isha Ambani also revealed plans to launch a fast moving consumer goods business.

5G rollout

RIL entered the telecom space with the launch of 4G services back in 2016. Reliance Jio’s entry disrupted the telecom industry in a big way; phone calls became free and data usage surged as prices were slashed. In the recently held auctions for 5G spectrum, Jio was the biggest spender. The country’s largest telecom operator spent Rs 88,078 crore, acquiring pan-India spectrum in the 1,800 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz bands, as well as sub-GHz bands of 700 MHz and 800 MHz. Jio’s spending on 5G spectrum was more than double that of Bharti Airtel, which spent Rs 43,084 crore.

Announcing its rollout plans, Ambani said the company intends to launch 5G services in the four metro cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata – by Diwali. It will then rollout 5G across the country, with plans to “deliver Jio 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil” by December 2023.

Ambani said the 5G rollout was “ambitious” and will be the “fastest in the world.” To build its pan-India 5G network, Jio is investing Rs 2 lakh crore.

“We will use our combined wireless and wireline assets to cover 3.3 million square kilometres, India's total land mass, with fibre-quality broadband, connecting even those parts of the country where satellite technology was the only option,” he told shareholders.

RIL has indigenously developed an end-to-end 5G stack, which is fully cloud native, software defined, digitally managed, with support for even advanced features like Quantum Security, he noted.

Jio also announced a partnership with Qualcomm to develop 5G solutions, which “once proven in India, can be taken to the rest of the world.”

Ambani said Jio is also working with Google to develop “ultra-affordable” 5G smartphones. Jio will also leverage Google cloud to offer its private 5G stack and other 5G-enabled solutions to domestic as well as global users.

Similarly, it is also partnering with Microsoft to expand Azure, the later’s cloud computing service, and to develop ecosystem of cloud-enabled business applications and solutions. Jio is also working with social media company Meta in immersive technologies like metaverse.


Reliance Retail, meanwhile, is also working with Meta-owned WhatsApp. This partnership with the instant messaging app will enable quick and easy shopping on JioMart (from selecting products and placing the order to making payments and receiving delivery updates), through the WhatsApp itself.

Since Reliance Retail launched its new commerce initiative two years ago, it has grown its merchant partner base to over 20 lakh. It is adding 1.5 lakh partners a month and is on course to partner with one crore merchants as it expands its presence covering the entire country, servicing over 7,500 towns and 3 lakh villages in the next five years, said Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail.

FMCG play

Reliance Retail is already the largest retailer in the country having over 15,000 stores. Last year alone it opened over 2,500 outlets. Its next big plan is to start a fast moving consumer goods business.

“I am excited to announce that this year, we will launch our fast moving consumer goods business. The objective of this business is to develop and deliver high quality, affordable products which solve every Indian's daily needs,” Isha said speaking at the AGM.

Reliance Retail will also start marketing quality goods produced by tribals and other marginalised communities across India, Isha added.

New energy business

At the annual general meeting in 2021, RIL had announced big plans in the new energy business. The plan was to invest Rs 75,000 crore towards building a fully integrated new energy manufacturing ecosystem at Jamnagar as the company looks to transition from oil and gas into a provider of renewable energy solutions like solar and green hydrogen.

The company had announced four giga factories at Jamnagar, one for photovoltaic panels, another for energy storage, a third one for green hydrogen and fourth for fuel cell systems. Ambani on Monday announced a new giga factory for power electronics.

“One of the key components linking the entire value chain of green energy is affordable and reliable power electronics. We are building significant capabilities in design and manufacturing of power electronics and software systems, integrating with our capabilities of telecommunications, cloud computing and IoT platform. We will build this through partnerships with leading global players to provide most affordable solutions, meeting global standards of performance, safety, and reliability,” he said.

RIL aims to start production of battery packs by 2023 and scale up to a fully integrated 5 GWh annual cell to pack manufacturing facility by 2024, which will be further scaled up to 50 GWh annual capacity by 2027.

The company will be establishing 20 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2025, which will be entirely consumed for its captive needs of round-the-clock power and intermittent energy for green hydrogen.

RIL is already among the largest producers of grey hydrogen. It will progressively commence transition from grey hydrogen to green hydrogen by 2025. The company is also working actively on bio-energy.

“We are one of the largest users of agro-waste as a fuel to meet our captive energy needs, and we aim to build on this further through use of newer and emerging technologies and innovation,” noted Ambani.

RIL has already inaugurated first phase of its bio-energy technology centre in Jamnagar on August 15, he informed.

O2C investments

While Reliance focuses on building a large green energy business, on Monday, Ambani also announced new investments in its existing oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business. RIL will invest Rs 75,000 crore in the next five years to expand capacities in existing and new value chains.

RIL will build one of the worlds' largest single-train PTA (purified terephthalic acid) plant of 3 MMTPA capacity at Dahej. It will also invest in a 1 MMTPA PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plant at Dahej.

Ambani said the company plans to more than triple its existing capacity in the vinyl chain, adding new plants in Dahej and Jamnagar. It will aim to complete 1.5 MMTPA of feedstock integrated PVC (polyvinyl chloride) expansion at Dahej and Jamnagar in phases by 2026. It will also add capacities to make EDC (ethylene dichloride) and PVC at Ruwais, in the UAE, as part of Ta'ziz Chemical Zone.

It will also build India's first and one of the world's largest carbon fibre plants at Hazira with a capacity of 20,000 MTPA, the first phase of which is expected to be completed in 2025.

It also aims to more than double its PET bottle recycling capacity to 5 billion bottles a year.

Succession plan

There was an expectation that RIL would throw a light on the roadmap to list the retail and telecom businesses. Ambani didn’t make any mention of that. The other major thing investors were looking at was update on succession.

Ambani’s three children Akash, Isha and Anant are expected to play a big role in each of the three businesses – telecom, retail and new energy respectively.

Earlier this year, Akash was announced as the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, a unit of Jio Platforms. Isha is currently the director on Reliance Retail. During the AGM, Ambani introduced Isha as the leader of the retail business, although an official announcement of her elevation is yet to be made.

“Akash and Isha have assumed leadership roles in Jio and retail respectively. They have been passionately involved in our consumer businesses since inception. Anant has also joined our new energy business with great zeal,” said Ambani.

Ambani added that they are “first among equals” in a young team of leaders and professionals who are already doing amazing things at Reliance, and were being mentored by its senior leaders, including himself and the board.

He said RIL plans to more than double its value by the end of its golden decade in 2027.

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