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Reliance Jio to launch commercial operations in coming months

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Reliance Jio Infocomm will launch commercial operations in coming months as its test programme has established smooth operations of all aspects of the network, company's parent RIL said today.

Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries, launched full scale service offerings for group employees, partners, vendors and associates on a trial basis on December 28, 2015.

"Over half a million users have been onboarded on the network. The initial feedback is very encouraging and has established smooth operations of all aspects of the network," RIL said in a statement.

RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said the 4G telecom and high-speed broadband services will be launched this year. But he did not give a specific date.

"The commercial roll-out of our Jio services this year will digitally enable a billion Indians and propel growth for India and Reliance," he said.

The company said average monthly consumption per user is in excess of 18 GB within the first month of service and is increasing rapidly whereas average voice usage is over 250 minutes within the first month.

"The launch is now being expanded to others in the ecosystem. This test programme will be progressively upgraded into commercial operations in coming months," it added.

The statement further said that RJIL is the first telecom operator to hold pan-India unified licence.

It holds 751.10 MHz of liberalised spectrum across the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. In addition, RJIL has entered into agreements with Reliance Communications (Rcom) for change in spectrum allotment in the 800 MHz band from Rcom to RJIL across 9 circles and sharing of spectrum in the 800MHz band across 17 circles.

"This arrangement will be extended to the balance circles as well subsequent to pending approvals from the government, such that RJIL will have pan-India spectrum in the 800MHz band in addition to 2300MHz band," it added.

The company said RJIL is also creating a multi-terabit capacity international network.

RJIL recently announced the launch of a new 8,100 km cable system, the Bay of Bengal Gateway, which provides direct connectivity to South East Asia and the Middle East, then onward to Europe, Africa and Far East Asia through seamless interconnection with existing cable systems.

"RJIL owns and operates the strategically important undersea cable landing facility in Chennai, providing a highspeed, high-capacity, low latency route connecting India to the rest of the world," it added.

During the quarter, RJIL has issued and allotted 1,500 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each, at par, to RIL.

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As RJio would start pricing its offerings from April 2017, its quickly garnered subscriber base of 100 million users could witness some churn, according to India Ratings and Research.

Reliance Jio's new offer would help improve industry average revenue per user or ARPU over the medium to long term, it pointed out.

"This is because the tariff plan under its Prime Membership Programme of Rs 303/month/subscriber generates an ARPU of Rs 260 (net of taxes), which is higher than the industry-blended ARPU (incumbents blended ARPU of Rs 190 and data ARPU of Rs 150)," it said.

Stating that Jio's strategy clearly targets the high-end consumers of other dominant industry players, Ind-Ra said it expects incumbents to follow suit by offering a similar package plan to retain their data subscribers.

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First Published: Fri, April 22 2016. 19:58 IST
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