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New Delhi: Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday said India will be able to contain covid-19 waves in the future and stage a rapid economic recovery on the back of quick adoption of technology which has kept lives and livelihoods afloat.

Talking at the India Mobile Congress 2021, Ambani called for migration of Indian subscribers to higher technology platforms of 4G and 5G from legacy networks, affordable data and devices for driving digital inclusion, while batting for national rollout of 5G on priority and countrywide fibre connectivity.

“I am supremely confident that India will not only succeed in containing any future wave of Covid, but also stage a rapid economic comeback that will astonish the world," he said.

“During Covid, when the chips were down, it is the chipsets that kept us going. When COVID-induced lockdowns rocked our boats, it is technology that kept our lives and livelihoods afloat," he added, emphasising on the role of technology in India’s recovery path.

The chairman of India’s largest wireless carrier said that keeping millions of Indians at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid confined to 2G was depriving them of benefits of the digital revolution. India must complete the migration from 2G to 4G to 5G at the earliest," he said.

Reliance Jio is the sole carrier that offers only 4G services while its rivals Airtel and Vi offer 2G services as well, which are used for feature phones, and smartphones in low data-connectivity areas.

Jio has a 100% home-grown and comprehensive 5G solution which is fully cloud native, digitally managed, converged and future-proof, Ambani said, noting that Jio's network could be quickly and seamlessly upgraded from 4G to 5G. “Roll-out of 5G should be India’s national priority," he said.

Arguing for affordability for services as well as devices and applications, Ambani said that policy tools such as the Universal Services Obligation (USO) Fund should be used for subsidizing devices, and therefore can help in digital inclusion.

“The best way of ensuring comprehensive affordability is nimble adoption of futuristic technologies and supportive policy tools like use of the USO fund for purposes other than services. USO fund can be used to subsidise devices to select target groups," he said. Jio has launched an affordable smartphone called JioPhone Next in partnership with Google.

Adding that Jio was able to bring fibre to more than 5 million homes, Ambani noted its importance for being future-ready given its ability of its to carry almost unlimited data capacity.

“If all the players in the industry work together, we can rapidly achieve a nationwide footprint of fibre, just as we reached mobile telephony to every corner of the country in the last decade," he said.

He further said that India should focus on critical components of the digital eco-system which are necessary for India’s digital transformation.

Ambani added that India’s energy systems were in need of radical transformation through technology.

“Technologies are maturing for energy saving through smart grids, decarbonisation of the economy, and drastic reduction in cost of India’s transition to clean and green energy," he said.

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