Reliance Jio’s Fiber broadband’s trial customers in five cities in Kerala will be moved to the newly announced commercial plans by month-end, according to a company official, followed by an expansion of activities beyond these five locations.
At present, Jio Fiber has around 5,000 customers in five cities — Trivandrum, Kochi, Calicut, Thrissur and Kannur.
These customers, mostly in high-rises, are currently on trial packs and will be moved to commercial plans over the “next ten days or so”.
The official said, even in these five cities, Jio Fiber connections have not been given out in all localities. Instead, connections have been given in specific localities — like Marine Drive, High Court Junction and Thripunithura in Kochi.
“Fiber is there across the state, but last mile is still being put in place,” said the person.
The company is using different methods to take its fiber to users’ homes, including underground cables and overhead lines.
The official did not give any specific time-table for the extension of services beyond these five cities. However, the person indicated that next in line with be second-tier cities like Kottayam.
Jio Fiber’s nationwide commercial roll-out began on September 5, after more than three years of trials in locations such as Mumbai and Gurgaon.
The company has three main plans targeting the mass market – the entry level Bronze plan (Rs 825) that gives 200 GB per month, a Silver pack (Rs 1, 003) that gives 400 GB, and a Gold plan (Rs 1,533) that offers 1,000 GB per month.
These plans have to be subscribed with a one-year commitment to get the above data allocation, even though the payment has to be made only on a monthly basis.
The plans are largely in line with the pricing seen in the market at present, but are more expensive when compared with plans that offer slower speeds.
For example, Kerala Vision offers a fully unlimited 50 Mbps connection at Rs 1,238 per month. Jio Fiber, in comparison, offers speeds in the range of 100-250 Mbps on its mass plans.
Kerala Vision also offers a truly unlimited 20 Mbps plan at Rs 766 per month, including taxes.
Asianet Broadband, one of the two big existing players alongside Kerala Vision, offers 400 GB per month at 100 Mbps for Rs 855 per month, which is cheaper than the comparable Silver plan from Jio priced at Rs 1,003 per month.
However, when it comes to 1000 GB/month plan, Jio’s Gold plan at Rs 1,533 is cheaper than Asianet’s comparable plan that costs Rs 1,769 per month, including tax. Jio’s customer premise equipment also has more bells and whistles than those of its competitions.
Another player, Railwire, also offers a 50 Mbps, 1000 GB plan at Rs 1,061, and a 10 Mbps, 1,000 GB plan at Rs 589 in Kerala. However, Railwire has limited reach within the state.