The telecom operator was supposed to have started opening up its trials to the public last month, but the company seems to have decided to open up its services to the public only after integrating partner Reliance Communications’ 850 MHz spectrum.
Without the spectrum, the company was not able to ensure decent signals even in areas where it has completely built out its network — such as in the concrete jungles of inner city.
As a result, Jio is reported to have made the call that it would make sense to wait for another 3-4 weeks, integrate RCom’s 850 MHz spectrum, and put its best foot forward as it signed on its first external consumers.
Earlier, it had expected that it would be able to give satisfactory coverage using its dual 1800 + 2300 MHz spectrum. But given that it could easily outclass other operators if it waits another month or so, Jio seems to have decided that another small delay is a price worth paying to get the impression right.
LYF SALES AND JIO LAUNCH
LYF handsets are supposed to start selling in big numbers only when the trials are opened to the public, as these handsets will come with considerable free 4G data allocation and calls.
As a result, any ratcheting up of advertising and promotions for the phone is seen as a precursor to the launch of public 4G trials by the operator.
A week ago, the company started airing its first television commercial for LYF, and now it has started giving online ads.
The online ads currently lead to LYF’s official website mylyf.com, where users are greeted with a list of handset families and individual models.
However, there is no option to buy the models. Instead, visitors are encouraged to leave their phone numbers and addresses, with a promise that a representative will get back to them very soon. It is likely that LYF selling agents will start calling these users once Jio starts opening up the trials to the public.
Meanwhile, Reliance Communications, which is supposed to provide the 850 MHz spectrum to RJio for integration into the latter’s network, has begun moving its subscribers out of the band, and into Jio’s 4G band.
The process is expected to be completed by the end of this month, at which point the spectrum will be completely free and available for Jio to do final testing and integration.
The integration is not expected to be a very painful process, as it is likely to involve only software-based changes and no extra hardware is expected to be fitted to the towers for bringing the 850 MHz spectrum on-board.
Jio’s launch is keenly anticipated as it is seen to be the only telecom operator that will offer a truly affordable wireless broadband service. While other companies like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone charge around Rs 2,500 for a 20-GB-per-month broadband service, Jio is expected to charge between Rs 699 to 999 for a similar service.
Even Reliance Communications, the company’s network partner and arguably the most affordable data provider along with MTS, may not match the rates offered by Jio.