Mukesh Ambani, son of Dhirubhai Ambani and chairman of Reliance Industries, launched the group’s latest initiative, Reliance Jio Infocomm’ 4G service in Mumbai on Sunday and urged the employees to test and give feedback on the network.
Though the launch did not give any details such as when exactly the 4G service will be opened up to the public (from its current invitation-only status) and what the 4G data tariff will be, Ambani did promise that the company will add 100 mln (10 cr) users within one year.
That is a huge task as companies like Idea and Airtel took more than 10 years to reach that milestone.
Since Reliance Jio will be largely targeting data customers who tend to spend around Rs 300-500 per month on average, 100 mln users will translate to a revenue of Rs 40,000 cr per year. In comparison, Idea Cellular currently has a revenue of around 35,000 crore and by March 2017, Jio could catch up with the Aditya Birla firm.
Jio will offer free SIM cards to around one lakh of its group employees. Since each person will get 3-4 SIMs, the test sample will comprise lakhs of people across the country.
The company has rolled out its network even remote places where even 3G coverage has to reached and is also expected to mount a strong challenge to the incumbents by offering considerably cheaper data prices than are ruling in the market today.
It is expected that by March end, commercial launches would have taken place across the country, with the first commercializations happening before that.
Part of the reason for this two-step process is the fact that it’s a brand-new, untested network. According to industry sources, if the tests do not reveal any major flaw in network design, the company would be in a position to sell its SIM cards to the public as soon as early February. On the other hand, if issues are detected, a proportionate delay can be expected.
Ambani called on Reliance employees to test the network and come up with any suggestions.
“While you enjoy Jio digital life, I am also counting on you to be part of co-creating the best experience for all our customers,” Ambani said.
“I am sure that when you experience the next-generation service of Reliance Jio, you’ll spread the word. And if and when you identify a glitch or an opportunity to do things better, I’m sure you will co-create and improve the Jio service.