MUMBAI: It promised a lot and it delivered. Reliance Industries Ltd’s 39th annual general meeting saw chairman Mukesh Ambani unveil the roadmap ahead for what is hoped will be the most significant change agent for India’s telecom, broadband business.
Amongst the most significant was the announcement that it will be a voice-free-low data cost provider of 4G LTE services geared for video delivery.
“All over the world operators charge for either data or voice. We have decided to make our voice services free and will never charge for it anytime now or in the future. Jio makes India the highest quality lowest data rates country in the world,” he said.
While other telcos like Airtel, Vodafone, have been offering data plans at Rs 250 per GB, Ambani said Jio’s data plans will be delivered at Rs 50 per GB. “And these will go down the more data you consume,” he informed RIL’s enamoured and enthusiastic shareholders at Mumbai’s Biral Matushree Auditorium this morning. “Your apps and downloads can be happening when you sleep at night at no cost to you.”
He also stated that data will be free on its 4G LTE network at night.
Only 10 plans ranging from Rs 19 to 4999 offering free voice calls and 100 MB to 75 GB a month respectively are on offer. “There are more than 22,000 plans on offer across India from the various telcos. It’s very confusing for the consumer. We wanted to keep it simple – hence just 10 plans,” said Ambani.
Reliance Jio says that it is looking at simplifying billing, sign ups to its services. “We have reengineered the sign up process to e-KYC and it will be linked to your Aadhar card. The process will take a customer 15 minutes and you will walk away with your active connection,” said Ambani.
He also announced that subscription to Reliance Jio’s apps – valued at Rs 15,000 - was being given away to subscribers free until 31 December 2017 .
Students would also have an offer which will provide them with 25 per cent more data at the same price. Ambani said Jio was in the process of connecting a majority of India's schools and colleges so that students could have access to broadband wifi in their classrooms. The company was in the process of setting up a million wifi hot spots across the country.
Ambani pointed out that Jio was being officially launched from 5 September 2016 with a welcome offer that all of Jio services will be available to Indians free until 31 December 2016. One of the reasons for this, he expressed, was that the company had been surprised by the way villagers had taken to the internet. And he wanted India's rural heartlands to experience mobile broaband on 4G LTE for a few months.