Reliance Jio Takes India by Storm, Telecom Industry Feels the Ripples

Voice calls to be free and data rates to get cheaper

Business & Politics



September 2, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

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Set to create a digital and telecom revolution in India, Reliance Industries’, Jio services to start soon; creating a boom in the industry even before its launch, other networkers feeling the heat already.

Reliance Jio, a mobile telephony, broadband and digital service provider in India and a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, is to officially launch on September 5. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of one of India’s premier companies, elucidated his ambition of transforming India’s telecom sector by providing an array of services at never-seen-before prices, thus luring users of other networks to switch allegiance.

The strategy so far is to provide free voice calls and mobile internet at a fifth of current rates along with a wide range of entertainment options underscoring the theme of convergence. The free voice call service to all users will be provided till the end of the year.

“The era of paying for voice calls is ending,” Ambani said at Jio’s launch event. “No Jio customer will ever have to pay for a voice call again.”

Free domestic voice calling, free national roaming and cheaper internet access is expected to draw 100 million users, thus ramping up the connectivity.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will allow users to switch to Jio from other networks without changing their existing numbers, but Ambani has urged Jio’s rivals to provide enough Points of Interconnection (PoI) to ensure that calls go through smoothly and not see frequent drops and disturbances.

A Digital Dream

Mukesh Ambani has dedicated Jio to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s dream of a Digital India.

“Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India is a life changing development. Jio is a dedication to that Digital India dream of the PM and his vision for the 1.2 billion people of India,” Ambani said.

Jio, which means to live and be alive to every opportunity, was an interesting choice for a name.

“Why did we call our venture Jio? Why is our motto Jio Digital Life? The world is at the beginning of a digital revolution. Anything and everything that can go digital is going digital exponentially. Life is going digital. In the next 20 years, we will collectively achieve more than what has been achieved in the last 300 years. In this era, if you are not digital, you simply will not survive. You will be left behind, and you will be irrelevant. India and Indians cannot afford to be left behind. Jio is conceived to change the ranking in mobile reach for India. India will go among the top ten in the world; right now it is in the 150s,”Ambani remarked.

Jio’s 4G network will cover 18,000 cities and towns, and over 2 lakh villages. By March 2017, Ambani plans to cover 90 per cent of India’s population.

“It is future-ready and it can be easily upgraded to support even more data, as technologies advance to 5G, 6G and beyond,” Ambani said.

Ambani has also created a Jio Digital India Startup Fund and is working to create Digital Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities.

With its customers having to pay 5 -10 times lower price for a cellular internet connection  and a faster and more stable 4G data service and other offers, Reliance Jio has sent jitters across the telecom industry, even before its full scale launch.

Stocks of phone companies went tumbling, as Ambani spoke at the Reliance Industries Ltd annual general meeting in Mumbai recently. Stocks of market leaders Bharti Airtel, third-ranked Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications fell by 6.4 pc, 10.5 pc and 8.8 pc, respectively, at the Bombay Stock Exchange over fears that they would have to either match Jio or risk losing users.

The cellular incumbents are now coming up with new strategies to woo and attract new customers and retain the existing ones.



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