Reliance Industries Limited conducted its Annual general Meeting (AGM) in the third of June and like every year; Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani’s address was heavily scrutinized. The address, in which Ambani directed RIL to become a member of the elite Fortune 50 club in three years, was crucial for one more reason – RIL’s 4G network will finally be operational by 2015.
Mukesh Ambani, insiders say has always had some unfinished business with the telecom sector. He was the brains and the architect behind India’s first consumer-oriented and subsidized mobile network started by Reliance in 2002. More than a decade later, he makes a grand comeback with Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of RIL. RJIL will launch its high-speed data and voice services on 4G in phases next year, riding on a Rupees 70,000-crore investment by parent Reliance Industries (RIL), a move cheered by consumers. This is going to have a huge impact in India’s highly lucrative telecom industry.
A Great Growth Story:
While the market is in great anticipation of fourth-generation services, Reliance Jio’s contribution cannot be measured in only in terms of contribution to India’s frequency waves. The infrastructure laid down by the company has added significantly to India’s GDP growth. “Millions of new entrepreneurs and jobs can be expected to spring up in secondary and tertiary sectors in new and innovative digital enterprises and services,” Ambani said, highlighting that the wireless broadband business will be one of the largest job and wealth creators. The company has also been the creator of more than 10,000 jobs. In addition, some 30,000 people have been indirectly benefited from the company through RJIL’s affiliation with vendors and partners. Another 100,000 people from digital infrastructure vendors to Jio are engaged in laying down the digital back bone, or fibre optic network, country wide.Reliance recently acquired Network 18 Media & Investments. Through this the Ambani owned company hopes to leverage quality content for its customers.
It’s interesting to note that Reliance Jio Infocomm has made huge investments prior to the launch of its services. In fact, many analysts estimate that RJIL has made significantly larger investments that its competitors including Vodafone, Airtel and Idea. In terms of reach, Jio’s network coverage at launch could be comparable to Bharti Airtel, India’s largest and world’s fourth largest Telco, which is present in 5,121 towns and 461,000 villages as of March.
RJIL was expected to launch services in 2014, but the company seems to have waited for its entire infrastructure and other allied services to be in shape before the launch. Jio has already completed the installation of base stations across 11,000 towers, and the number is expected to go up to 40,000 by the year-end.It has already stitched up deals to share telecom infrastructure, including towers and optic fibre, with companies such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Viom and American Tower Corp, besides setting up its own infrastructure.It is also likely to have successfully completed trials on handsets, which can be used for providing voice over LTE on 1800 MHz, and is also talking to other handset makers to have affordable LTE supporting devices in the market at the time of Jio’s launch.