Reliance Industries Limited chairperson Mukesh Ambani on Thursday morning launched the Reliance Jio project that has the potential to change the telecom industry. According to Reuters, the 4G services, which was launched at the company's annual general meeting, could make RIL India's most comprehensive supplier of telecom and internet services. The new venture is headed by Ambani's daughter Isha and son Akash, both 24 years old.
Data services will be offered at as low as Rs 50 per GB, which Ambani said were the lowest data charges anywhere in the world. Voice calls will be offered free of cost to all Jio customers, and roaming will be free across India. Customers can get a Jio SIM within 15 minutes if they present an Aadhaar card, Ambani said.
"Reliance Jio’s goal is to take our nation from data shortage to data abundance," Ambani said. "It is an entire eco-system that’ll allow Indians to live digital life to the fullest". According to him, Jio’s 4G network will cover 18,000 cities and towns, and more than two lakh villages. The company aims to cover 90% of India’s population by March 2017.
Jio’s 4G SIM was initially restricted to Reliance Jio Lyf device customers, but other brands have started offering the service. A lot of interest has been generated about the service, which has been on a trial run for a few months now. Other telecom operators have been wary of the service, offering new schemes and slashed data prices in an effort to counter the potential Jio onslaught. During the launch itself, IDEA lost Rs 2,450 crore while Bharti Airtel lost Rs 9,800 crore of market cap, according to Business Standard.
Speaking of the future of the initiative, Ambani said, "Jio plans to partner with thousands of entrepreneurs whose digital ventures can bloom in the ground that Jio is preparing." Keeping that vision in mind, the company has created a Jio Digital India Start-up Fund, and is also working towards setting up Digital Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities.
Lauding the young workforce that is behind the new initiative, the RIL chief said, "Jio is a creation of the young, by the young, and for the young." He said 30 is the average age of the 60,000 employees they have across India. He also praised the leadership qualities of his children who are directors at the company.
The 59-year-old businessman reached out to incumbent operators and urged them to refrain from misusing market power by creating unfair hurdles for the new entrant. "I appeal to my fellow operators to do their part to create a fair framework of co-opetition that is good for India and Indian customers," he said.