Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries, plans to launch fourth-generation (4G) services early next financial year, with offerings as comprehensive as mobile-based enterprise solutions for small-scale businesses, full-scale mobile services and voice-over internet.
“We are still in the process of finalising a lot of things and do not expect to launch it commercially this financial year,” a senior company executive said on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday. Earlier, the company was expected to launch these services this financial year.
According to a Press Trust of India report, the company plans to increase its staff-strength about three-fold. “From less than 700 professionals a year back, the Reliance Jio team has grown rapidly to a national footprint of about 3,000 professionals on Thursday. And, we estimate over the next year, we will grow the team to a national strength of about 10,000 professionals,” Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders at the AGM on Thursday.
The company has pan-India 4G spectrum (2,300 Mhz). It has paid Rs 1,200 crore as an upfront one-time fee to Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications (RCom) to use its inter-city optic fibre network infrastructure for high-speed data services for 20 years. The deal marked a new era of partnership between brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, who had split their business empire into two separate units in 2005. Now, Reliance Jio is also in talks with RCom to use its intra-city optic fibre network and telecom tower infrastructure.
The company plans to provide personal Wi-Fi devices of the size of a visiting card. These would create hotspots to connect various devices on high-speed data. Besides, plans to provide small-scale businesses with technology that can help these manage their store and inventory over mobiles. It also plans to launch mobile services like other telecom companies.
“Our offerings will be a combination of what Omnitech, Verizon and Google offer on Thursday,” said the company executive. Omnitech InfoSoultion is an information technology outsourcing and managed services company that provides business-to-business solutions, while Verizon is a full-scale mobile service provider in the US with offerings as diverse as Wi-Fi, wireless, internet television and LTE (long-term evolution) technology-based mobile services.
“When the company is talking about Google, the voice over internet service could be on its mind,” said an analyst with a foreign brokerage.
In June 2010, Reliance Industries had acquired 4G broadband spectrum from Infotel Broadband for $2.7 billion (Rs 12,848 crore) within hours of the company emerging as the sole winner. The company is obliged to roll out operations within five years of the spectrum allocation.
“Together with our partners, we have charted an ambitious plan for the next 12 months and we, at Reliance Jio, foresee rapid progress over this period towards launching our services across India,” Mukesh Ambani said at the AGM.