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Come December, Reliance Jio sojourn set to begin

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MUMBAI: Come December and Mukesh Ambani’s ambitious 4G project - Reliance Jio is all set to sail on its commercial juggernaut.

After expending money to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore in acquiring spectrum rights across the country, the company is targeting to provide 4G services across India with an investment of more than Rs 70,000 crore.

Addressing shareholders in its annual general meeting, Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh D Ambani said that 2016-17 would be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio.

Ambani also highlighted the path travelled and the roadmap ahead for Reliance Jio.

Read on:  

Current Jio Scenario

Jio is now present in all of the 29 states of India, with a direct physical presence in nearly 18,000 Indian cities and towns. Jio's wireless footprint extends even further and covers over one lakh villages. The company is expanding this footprint to cover nearly 80 per cent of India's population by the end of this year.

“Our roadmap is to have 100 per cent national coverage within the next three years. In rural areas, we are prioritizing connectivity to thousands of schools. This is to ensure that the benefit of our broadband initiative is first and foremost felt by students who stand to gain the most by accessing the information highway,” said Ambani.

Jio Progress

Jio has deployed a network of nearly 250,000 route kilometres of fibre optics, thereby creating a future-proof digital backbone across India. Over the next three years, Jio will gather more than double this fibre footprint by deploying fibre optics in the last mile.

“We are using this deep fibre network also to ramp-up our fibre-to-the-home deployment. By April of next year, we would have connected over one million homes via fibre with a capability of rapidly scaling up in the top 50 cities of India,” he informed.

To support India's prominent participation in this revolution, Jio has operationalized nearly half a million square feet of its own next-generation Cloud data centers. Work is underway to double this capacity over the next year. The Jio team now comprises 17,500 full-time employees, who have successfully managed dozens of world-class technology partners and more than 150,000 people on the ground to achieve this rollout.

Jio Technical Achievements

“Even as Jio undertakes this mammoth rollout, we continue to take steps to further strengthen its competitive position. Our acquisition of wireless spectrum during the spectrum auctions conducted in March of this year is a case in point,” said Ambani.

In addition to the existing Pan India 2300 MHz spectrum and 1800 MHz in 14 circles, Jio invested over Rs 10,000 crore during this year's auction to acquire 800 MHz spectrum in 10 circles and 1800 MHz spectrum in six circles.

Total Jio Investment

Having invested a war chest of Rs 34,000 crore in spectrum assets, Jio now has the largest footprint of liberalized spectrum in the country, acquired in an extremely cost effective manner.

“We have an end-to-end initial capacity to serve in excess of 100 million wireless broadband and 20 million fibre-to-the-home customers, with capability to easily expand further as the business scales up. 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. This beta program will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year,” Ambani asserted.

Full Fledged Jio Launch

Ambani said that the financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio.

It is interesting to note that in China 4G LTE devices as a percentage of overall device shipment has increased from 10 per cent to over 84 per cent in just the past year and Ambani expects a similar trend to emerge in India.

“The combination of Jio's strong initiatives and a supportive global environment, gives me the confidence that we will see 4G LTE smartphones in India at prices below Rs 4,000 by December of this year,” he said.

Reliance Jio’s Stand

Touting Jio as much more than just telecom services, Ambani said that it is well positioned to emerge as a global Tier-1 telecom operator.

“The three-pronged combination of broadband networks, affordable smartphones and the availability of rich content and applications has created a global information tsunami,” Ambani said.

In April this year, Reliance launched first mobile application, Jio Chat, which is a communication application that integrates chat, voice, video calling, conferencing, file sharing, photo sharing and much more in a single application. In just the first few weeks of operations, Jio Chat acquired over a million active users, without any paid promotions or paid advertisements whatsoever.

Upcoming Jio Apps

Switch-and-Walk app: Allows customers to seamlessly copy everything from their old phone to a new phone. The app will help to sync all contacts, messages, photos, music, media and applications from one phone to another, wirelessly, with a few easy clicks.

Jio Drive: It is an application that will bring powerful cloud capabilities to every smartphone. Using Jio Drive, anyone can store, sync and share any content between their own devices and also with their friends. This is the type of capabilities that only large enterprises are able to provide to their employees. With Jio Drive, every consumer and small business owner will have this ability.

Jio News and Entertainment Innovations

Network 18 has 17 news channels, 14 entertainment channels, in eight languages and a strong set of internet businesses that will be transited to the Jio platform.

“We are working to transform all of these to build and sustain leadership in each of these areas. By 2017-18 it will be the most integrated TV mobile set of content in India. I am privileged- to have Adil Zainulbhai from the Board to guide this initiative,” added Ambani

Jio MSO License

Earlier this year, Jio also applied for a pan-India cable television multi-system operator (MSO) license and has plans to enter the broadcast TV distribution. Ambani told shareholders that he would apprise them of further progress in the forthcoming AGM.

“We have created a legacy free, next-generation voice and broadband network, which can be seamlessly upgraded even to 5G and beyond. We will deliver the gold standard for coverage and capacity, and push to raise the bar even further with small cells. In everything that we have done at Jio, we have lived by the three mantras of ‘Simple, Smart and Secure.’ However, I believe that Jio's role is much larger than just offering its own services,” Ambani concluded.

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