Reliance Jio, the biggest carrier of wireless data in the world, said it will expand beta trials of its fiber-to-the-home services in the ‘next few months’ across India.

It has already started these trials in “a few locations”, which would be expanded city by city. According to market sources, the company has such trials ongoing in Gujarat and Mumbai at present.

The operator has stated plans of offering fiber-to-the-home services in 100 cities of India. At present no fiber-to-the-home broadband provider in India has a footprint of more than a dozen cities.

However, its would-be competitors, such as Hathway, Spectranet, Act and You are expanding their services fast in anticipation of a disruption similar to the one caused by the company in mobile services.

FREE FIBER SERVICES?

Reliance Jio shook up the wireless data industry with its free trial service that lasted for nearly nine months, and signed on tens of millions of customers. A similar strategy could help it expand the appeal of its fiber services as well.

The company, however, did not say whether its trials will be free and how long they will last.

Along with broadband, the company would also offer an integrated IPTV service.

This would look and feel like a regular DTH or cable connection, but would enable viewers to rewind live TV and as well as watch movies and other videos with the set-top-box.

However, it may not include popular services like Youtbe, Netflix and Amazon Prime. On the other hand, rivals like Airtel Digital are coming out with services that have support for third-party platforms as well, but require the user to purchase an internet connection as well.

LTE PLANS

On its wireless LTE service, Jio said the total number of users had increased to 108.9 mln by the end of March.

These subscribers are generating around 110 cr GB per month,  which works out to over 10 GB per month per connection.

Other operators see a consumption of around 0.6-1.0 GB per month.

It said it has crossed 1 lakh LTE towers on its network and plans to add another 100,000 towers to the network in the coming months

“Company continues to make progress on the roll-out of its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) business offering with beta trials initiated in a few locations. It would expand the scope of the beta trials over the next few months,” it said today.

“Jio users are today consuming nearly as much data as on all the mobile networks in the USA and 50% more data than mobile networks in China in a clear indication that India will adopt digitisation and Digital Life faster than anyone else in the world,” it said.

“This is indicative of the strength of the network being delivered by Jio.”

During the quarter, Jio announced new tariff plans. Mobile Number Portability (MNP), which allows consumers to retain their existing mobile number when they switch to Jio, is available for all consumers. Lakhs of consumers have already used this facility, it added.

“During the quarter, Jio continued to solve its interconnection congestion issues with the leading telecom operators. There has been noteworthy improvement in local access in recent weeks. While NLD interconnection remains an issue in some service areas, Jio is committed to solving this at the earliest and hopes for co-operation from the other operators,” it said.

It has also switched on international roaming.

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