RIL primes broadband disruption via Jio fibre

After disrupting the Indian mobile telephony space, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio aims to disrupt the broadband and D2H market with the unveiling of JioGigaFiber, its fibre broadband system.

The roll-out would happen across 1,100 cities simultaneously starting August 15, he said. Mentioning that India was ranked 134 in the global ranking for fixed broadband, he said Jio was determined to move the country to among the top five.

“JioGigaFiber for the home would mean ultra high definition entertainment on television, multi-party video conferencing from the comfort of your living room, voice-activated virtual assistants, who obey your every command, virtual gaming reality and digital shopping where you are magically transported into a digital universe of immersive experiences, smart home solutions, where hundreds of devices like security cameras, home appliances, even lights and switches can be securely controlled by their owners using a smartphone, from both inside and outside the home,” said Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani while addressing the shareholders at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the company.

“This will redefine 24X7 emergency help for all homes,” he said.

Stocks of cable operators and D2H firms like Hathway and DenNetworks touched a 52-week low after Mr. Ambani’s announcement that JioGigaFiber would come with routers and set-top box for television.

Starting July 21, RIL’s telecom arm Reliance Jio will offer Jio phones for Rs. 501 in exchange for feature phones. The company is banking on 500 million feature phone users, who cannot use the Internet, to become JioPhone users. Reliance Jio plans to offer popular apps such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook on Jio phones from August 15. The company also plans to introduce JioPhone2, an upgraded version of JioPhones, from August 15 for Rs. 2999.

The company had 25 million JioPhone users in India and aims to achieve more than 100 million JioPhone users in the shortest possible time. Bridging gap with Vodafone and Idea cellular, Reliance Jio added 215 million customers.

Hybrid model

“Since I last spoke, we have doubled our customer base to over 215 million now. [As many as] 215 million customers within 22 months of start is a record that no technology company has been able to achieve anywhere in the world,” he said.

Moving away from its core business of refining and petroleum, Reliance Industries is transitioning itself into a technology platform company as the consumer facing businesses of Reliance are likely to become as big as energy business in the coming years. The company plans to integrate physical retail stores with digital platform of Reliance Jio to create a hybrid online-to-offline commerce platform. “We shall create this by integrating and synergising the power of Reliance Retail’s physical marketplace with the fabulous strengths of Jio’s digital infrastructure and services.

“This platform will bring together 35 crore and growing customer footfalls at Reliance Retail stores, 21.5 crore and growing Jio connectivity customers and the targeted five crore JioGiga-homes,” said Mr. Ambani.

Shares fall

RIL shares closed 2.5% lower at Rs. 965 as investors expected Reliance to announce listing of Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail.

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