Reliance Jio 4G offers 18-20 Mbps speed versus Vodafone’s 8-10 Mbps

Reliance Jio 4G launch ready
Financial services firm UBS says Reliance Jio’s 4G network is offering 4G Internet speed of 18-20 Mbps versus Vodafone’s 4G speed of 8-10 Mbps.

The UBS report did not mention about 4G network speed of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the 4G venture of India’s top billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is planning to soft launch 4G telecom services by the end of this month, while the full commercial offering is expected by December 2016, said UBS.

“Contrary to market belief that Reliance Jio has started rolling out 4G SIMs commercially, our channel checks in Mumbai and Delhi suggest that although SIMs have been shipped to the retail outlets, they are not yet available for sale,” said UBS in a report.

At present, Jio SIM cards are only available to Reliance employees, post its beta launch in December 2015. “Our speed test on trial SIM cards in Reliance outlets indicate network speed of 18-20 Mbps versus Vodafone’s 4G speed of 8-10 Mbps,” said UBS.

Reliance Jio is expected to initially roll-out bundled 4G offering on a limited basis with LYF-branded devices — as also SIM sale on standalone basis — only in the second half of 2016, even as all the market leaders have already launched theirs.

Bharti Airtel, promoted by Sunil Mittal, was the first to launch 4G giving it a significant first-mover advantage with footprint in 15 circles, Idea Cellular started in 575 towns across its 10 circles, while Vodafone India has a presence in five circles.

UBS said the delay in Jio’s 4G service launch has helped GSM operators to strengthen their 4G offerings.

The Indian telecom market may be overly concerned over Jio’s disruptive impact and ignoring rapid data growth in Indian mobile market. The report forecast the Indian data market to grow nine times to $38 billion by 2026.

Credit Suisse recently said Reliance Jio is preparing to sell 4G SIM cards at Rs 200. 4G SIM cards are expected to come with free data and voice, valid for three months.

In December, employees of Reliance Industries received 75GB data and 4,500 minutes of calls.

“Our visits to Reliance Digital stores in Mumbai revealed the stores are preparing for a possible soft launch of Jio’s 4G connections soon. The stores have been equipped with infrastructure that allows for quick enrolment,” said Credit Suisse.

Last month, Mukesh Ambani, speaking at the FICCI-Frames media and entertainment conclave, said Reliance Jio has four strategies: Expand India’s coverage from 15-20 percent now to 70 percent, give broadband speed that is 40-80 times faster, increase data availability and offer affordable services to Indians.

Vina Krishnan
[email protected]