Reliance Industries today said it has invested Rs 100,000 crore in 4G telecom biz.
“We are currently in the pre-launch testing and stabilization phase of this large and complex network. Over the next few months, we will initiate an extensive beta-launch involving millions of friendly customers across all our markets,” chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders here.
Reliance Jio 4G services will be available in December against the industry expectation of June-July launch.
“This beta programme will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year,” he said, adding that the company now has end-to-end initial capacity to serve over 100 million broadband and 20 million fibre-to-home customers for the Jio platform.
On devices, the chairman told the company’s 41st annual general meeting that the focus has been on affordable, yet innovative smartphones, on which is dependent the penetration of this future technology.
“Jio and Reliance Digital teams have worked with all leading device manufacturers of the world to ensure availability of VoLTE (Voice-over-long-term evolution) 4G smartphones across all price points — from ultra-premium models on one hand, to entry level models on the other,” he said.
“The combination of Jio’s strong initiatives and a supportive global environment, gives me the confidence that we will see VoLTE phones in India at prices below Rs 4,000 by December of this year,” Ambani said.
“In our digital business, our plan is to provide the same power of computing, communication and information to every individual, whether in towns or rural areas, that the US President had ten to fifteen years ago. All this at about Rs 300 to Rs 500 per month.”
The company will also offer a host of other apps and services like the Jio Chat app that has garnered over one million active users in three months. Other offerings include switch-and-walk app, Jio Drive (cloud app), Jio play, Jio beats, Jio mags, Jio news and Jio money.
While the switch-and-walk app will allow customers to seamlessly copy everything from their old phone to a new phone, the Jio drive will enable cloud capabilities. Jio beats, Jio mags and Jio news, as their names suggest, would be digital services offering for content dissemination.
Talking about Jio Money, the chairman said: “This offering will leverage on Jio’s digital network and distribution reach to acquire these untapped merchants, taxi drivers and restaurants.”
“The company has also partnered with State Bank of India to apply for a payments bank license under regulations issued by the Reserve Bank of India,” Ambani added.