ambaniReliance Jio, the country’s latest telecom operator, will start its services with coverage over 70% of India’s population, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said.

“From Day one, we will look at providing 40-80 times faster internet speed than the current speed,” he said at FICCI’s annual entertainment industry conference FRAMES.

“We will cover 90% population with 40-80 times faster than average speeds & 10 GB per user by 2017,” he said.

At present, the average 3G data consumption in India is about 700 MB.

10 GB per user will mean that consumption per user has to increase by around 14 times.

That would also imply that Reliance Jio’s pricing will be that much more affordable. “Digitalisation is of no use if it’s not affordable & accessible to all Indians,” Ambani said.

At present, the average price of data in India is around Rs 125 per GB, and around Rs 200 per GB for low-volume users.

To increase consumption by 10-15 times — as Reliance Jio seems to be targeting — prices have to be brought down to about 30-35 per GB, as average spending on data can only be raised to around Rs 300 or so per month per subscriber. At present, it is around Rs 150.

It is expected that the company will offer 10 GB for less than Rs 500 when it starts services over the next few days. In comparison, established operators like Vodafone and Bharti Airtel provide only 2 GB for Rs 450 per month.

Ambani also said the network has been built to withstand the stress created even if data consumption per head rises to 100 times the present level.

Ambani, a big name in oil and gas, was very enthusiastic about the prospects of data growth in India and seems to be eyeing the sector to power his future growth.

“Data is the new oil, and intelligent data is new petrol,” he told the audience.

Ambani said India is at the cusp of a revolution the kinds of which it has not seen in recent times.

“We are at the beginning of a new era of civilisation and in next 10 years we will do more that in the last 200 years.”

Key to the growth, he said, will be video, and even the relatively not-so-well-off persons in India will be able to watch videos on mobiles, giving a boost to education.

“Jio will offer the most powerful video network in all cities and villages at an affordable price,” he said, adding that the world is moving from orality to visuality.

“Images and videos will rule the digital world.”

With the Jio revolution, India will go from 150 in terms of broadband penetration and usage to the top 10, Ambani promised.

He also called Reliance Jio the world’s biggest startup with an investment of Rs 150,000 crore.

The Indian government has announced special tax breaks for start-up companies in the country in an effort to promote entrepreneurship. The spread of high-speed Internet is expected to further boost entrepreneurship and growth in the Indian economy.

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