Is Jio struggling in converting free 4G subscribers to paid plans?

Jio network displayThe Indian telecom industry is currently debating whether a part of 900 million plus mobile users in India will bail out Reliance Jio Infocomm, the 4G business from billionaire Mukesh Ambani, by paying Rs 99 towards the Prime Membership fee.

Payment of Rs 99 is not a big deal for majority of Indian mobile subscribers. But shifting from free services to fee based services – and for committing Rs 303 (this is the better package for Jio Prime users) for the next 12 months and using Jio as the primary and secondary SIM creates question mark among consumers.

4G market

Reliance Jio, which has the nation-wide presence in the 4G telecom space, stated that its Rs 99 Prime Membership will end by 31 March – in the next 7 days. Jio’s Prime Members will benefit from the Rs 303 mobile data and voice package for one year.

Reliance Jio has already added more than 100 million subscribers during the free promotion phase, challenging established telecoms such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone. The free phase also challenged the revenue streams of top telecom operators.

TelecomLead.com spoke to some Jio retails in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala. The mood at these retail shops is not encouraging. They are yet to find adequate response from the free users of Jio 4G network.

“Consumers may take some more time to shift to the paid model. The Jio package is too good. But competition has also good data packages,” said one of the retailers in Delhi.

Reliance Jio has not officially communicated on the update to its Prime Membership offer. There are several research reports available showing that Jio will add paid subscribers to its 4G network across the country.

ALSO READ: Jio to add 75 mn 4G users in fiscal 2018

Indian research firm CMR believes that 40-45 percent of the existing Jio subscribers will continue to use their services after the Happy New Year offer expires by March 31, 2017. CMR says India will have 220 to 225 million 4G subscribers towards the end of 2017.

ALSO READ: 84 million Jio subscribers to opt for Prime Membership

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in its report that 84 million Jio subscribers will opt for Jio’s Prime Membership before March 31.
4G upload speed on TRAI app monthly trend in MarchJio data network quality is not superior, going by the Internet speed chart prepared by TRAI. It is not consistent. In fact, Jio upload speed is worse than several telecom operators. Jio is not delivering against its promises. But Jio upload speed is much better than all rivals.
4G download speed on TRAI app monthly trend in MarchIs Jio struggling?

Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian, has already attracted 100 million to the company’s 4G network by offering free services. The company is now trying to waive off the Rs 99 Prime Membership fee by indirectly announcing several schemes.

Financial Express reports that mobile wallet Paytm, which joined hands with Jio, is offering cash back of Rs 10 if its users use the Paytm app to pay for the one-time fee of Rs 99 for taking Prime membership.

If one pays the Rs 99 towards Prime Membership through Jio’s app, Jio Money, one will get Rs 50 as cash back. Under Prime there’s a monthly recharge of Rs 303. If one pays monthly recharge of Rs 303 also through Jio Money, there will be a cash back of Rs 50 – indicating that the actual payment will be Rs 253 only.

Recent telecom industry reports suggest that India’s 4G subscriber base will reach 235 million by the year-end. The role of Reliance Jio is important for the 4G eco-system to grow. The addition of free or paid subscribers should enhance the financial viability of all telecom operators – including Jio — in India.

Baburajan K
[email protected]