Jio to roll out 4G services on Dec 28

Half a million SIMs to be distributed to Reliance employees under Family & Friends offer on founder Dhirubhai Ambani’s birth anniversary; full commercial offering likely in Q1 2016.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) is likely to offer 4G services from December 28, to coincide with the 83rd birth anniversary of Reliance Industries (RIL) founder Dhirubhai Ambani.

Sources told The Hindu that Jio is expected to distribute five lakh free SIM cards to Reliance Group employees and affiliates, averaging five connections per employee under its ambitious ‘Family & Friends’ offer. The full commercial roll out is expected between April and June 2016 across nine cities in the first phase: Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur and Jamnagar.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it expects a small scale launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G services by the end of December in some select areas, especially in Mumbai. In a note to clients, the firm said in a note to clients dated December 15.

“In a scenario Jio launches by December 28, we remain unsure 1) if it will be a commercial launch with the company disclosing price-points, or 2) if it will be an extension of services which are currently being offered to employees to select user group/Jio partners (i.e. few months of free data with no price-points being shared),”

Sources added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the service in Mumbai. However, The Hindu couldn’t independently verify the PM’s presence at the inauguration event on December 28.

The administrative hub of Reliance Industries at Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai is being readied for a launch party on December 27, sources said.

Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Group is expected to be present during the launch. It may be recalled that RJio and RCom have agreed to jointly offer 4G services. RJio spokespersons declined to comment to The Hindu for this story. RIL had started Reliance Infocomm, now Reliance Communications (RCom), on December 28, 2002 to coincide with Dhirubhai’s 70th birth anniversary.

When Dhirubhai died in 2002 without leaving a will, the Ambani brothers fought a murky battle for ownership. Anil Ambani took over RCom after its demerger with the Reliance Group in 2005.

In June 2010, RIL bought out the only winner of wireless spectrum across India, Infotel Broadband Services Ltd, for Rs 4,800 crore (approximately $1 billion then) and has invested Rs 1 lakh crore in the new business.

Analysts believe that while RJio’s entry will disrupt the mobile telephony market in India, the company will not be profitable for the first five years due to capital expenditure, mostly borrowed, and interest and depreciation.

It will, in turn, take a toll on RIL’s profitability if RJio is not able to scale.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected

to inaugurate the service in Mumbai

on December 28

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:06:37 PM |

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