Mukesh Ambani is in no mood to relent. Having made India the largest data consumer in 2017, the Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries has now set his sights on putting India among the top five fixed broadband markets in the world. India currently ranks 134 in fixed line broadband services with the quality and speed of services leaving much to be desired.
Addressing the shareholders at the 41st annual general meeting of India’s largest private sector company, Ambani said RIL arm Reliance Jio Infocomm would, August 15 onwards, begin to take bookings for its soon-to-be-launched superfast fixed line broadband service. Interested users can register their names via Jio.com or MyJio app.
The company will roll out JioGigaFiber services in 1,100 cities simultaneously with the number of registrations in a given city deciding the priority of launch, Ambani said.
JioGigaFiber will have speeds in excess of gigabits per second. Existing broadband service providers struggle to provide broadband at 20 Mbps in the national capital though some claim to have speed of 100 Mbps. 1 Gbps is equal to 1,000 Mbps. The company is targeting 5 crore JioGigaHomes in the first phase.
Clearly, JioGigaFiber could disrupt the fixed broadband market and its pricing in much the same manner that Jio’s 4G VOLTE mobile services did, making voice calls almost free and taking data prices to one-tenth of their then prevailing levels.
After announcing the launch of JioGigaFiber, Ambani stepped aside for a while to let his daughter Isha, son Akash and Reliance Jio Director Kiran Thomas address the audience. Isha said the three most popular apps — WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook — will be available on JioPhone from August 15.
She also announced the launch of JioPhone2, a premium version of the popular smartphone JioPhone that has already notched up 25 million users. JioPhone2 will be an affordable high-end mobile with a horizontal screen display. It will be retailed for Rs 2,999 from August 15.
Aiming to increase the affordability of JioPhone and bring it to more users, Isha said users will be able to buy new JioPhone by exchanging their existing feature phone for a mere Rs 501 from July 21. The company has called the scheme ‘JioPhone Monsoon Hungama’.
Ambani has set a target of 100 million JioPhone users in the “shortest possible time”.
Delivering the superfast broadband services to homes would be the JioGigaRouter. JioGigaFiber services will also allow TV-to-TV calling within the comfort of homes. The company will also launch JioGigaRouter to deliver over 600 channels to TV.
In the world of Netflix, all this will undoubtedly cause major disruption in the not-so-flexible direct-to-home and cable TV markets and not just the fixed line broadband segment.
The company will also launch Jio Smart Home Accessories like sensors to detect and regulate water leak, temperature, lighting and electrical appliances.Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd