Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Industries, is all set to unveil attractive broadband-cum-TV plans under Reliance Gigafiber at the annual general meeting of Reliance Industries at 11 AM.
The plans have been a well kept secret, but according to early indications, the company will offer free cable TV and 200 GB of monthly data at Rs 500 per month.
Ambani had, in the RIL AGM last year, opened up the registration process for GigaFiber.
While the service had initially been rumored to be launching in 100 cities, Ambani in his AGM speech said the launch would be the biggest such event in the world and will cover at least 1,100 cities simultaneously.
“Make sure you register your interest, and more importantly make sure that your neighbors register so that your locality will be among the first to get,” the billionaire had said in his speech last year.
In the run up to the AGM speech tomorrow, Reliance Jio has put out a live streaming link on Youtube (see below). The live streaming will also be available on other social media channels, including Facebook.
Ambani’s entry into the broadband-cum-cable TV business is expected to shake up broadband and cable TV pricing in India.
At present, broadband players charge around Rs 900 per month for unlimited usage 100 Mbps in the big cities. In smaller cities, the speed falls to about 10-20 Mbps for the same tariff.
In addition to the above, customers have to spend around Rs 250 per month for watching cable TV, taking the total to about Rs 1,150 plus taxes.
Ambani’s GigaFiber is likely to offer high-speed fiber broadband and advanced cable TV at a flat rate of Rs 500 per month plus tax. This means that the broadband component is being priced at just around Rs 250 per month.
Tariff details of more costly, unlimited plans on GigaFiber are not known yet.
The move is likely to lead to immediate disruption in both the cable TV as well as broadband business in India.
It is expected to lead to massive consolidation in the sector, which currently has an estimated 10,000 or so cable operators and around half a dozen DTH services.
GigaFiber launch could also be the last nail in the coffin of BSNL, the state-owned landline operator that currently accounts for nearly half of India’s wired broadband connections.
According to our estimates, BSNL has around 6 million wired broadband subscribers, which gives it a share of about 30% out of the total wired broadband subscriber base of 18.5 million users in India.
The second biggest player is Bharti Airtel, which has around 2.3 million wired broadband connections. The company is currently in the process of upgrading its customers from copper to fiber to compete with Jio GigaFiber.
As for the smaller operators, Jio GigaFiber would extend ‘buyout offers’ to smaller cable and broadband operators, under which smaller operators could sell their networks and customers to Jio in return for a fixed, one-time payment.
Jio has also purchased Hathway and Den Networks, two of India’s largest cable feed providers, and is currently negotiating with the business partners of these two networks to work out an arrangement to provide its GigaFiber services to their customers.
Barely a month ago, Ambani said trials of the new service have been ‘very encouraging’.
“Ongoing beta trials of JioGigaFiber services is in its final stages, and early signs have been very encouraging,” Jio said in its quarterly earnings update.