Reliance Jio, the wireless telephony and data services unit of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Pvt Ltd, is set to launch 4G services by December this year. RIL will also use Reliance Jio's internet infrastructure to roll out an e-commerce marketplace platform, group chairman Ambani said at the company's 41st annual general meeting on Friday.
The launch of the 4G services by Reliance Jio is expected to give a push to digital businesses at large in India. Reliance Jio is the only firm to have a pan-India licence for providing the fast broadband service.
It is also expected to shake up the market for other broadband service providers.
As part of its December launch, RIL aims to unveil 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones in India at under Rs 4,000. With 4G LTE, users can download videos, documents or songs in mere seconds and live streaming of full-length movies becomes seamless.
“Reliance Jio is in pre-launch testing and stabilising phase. The key components of broadband network is now operational and we will play an important role in the digital revolution planned by the Indian government,” Ambani told shareholders.
He said in the digital business, the company plans to provide same power of computing, communication and information to every user, in small town or large city, that the US President had access to, 10-15 years ago. Ambani said this would be at a fee of Rs 300-500 per month (under $8 a month).
The chairman and managing director of the company said the firm would aim to achieve 100 per cent penetration in India over the next three years.
Financial year 2016-17 would be the first full year of Reliance Jio's commercial operations.
Reliance Jio plans to provide 4G services using LTE in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.
Reliance Jio had acquired Infotel Broadband Services within hours of the latter winning nationwide wireless broadband licence five years ago. The company recently signed a pact with Chinese firm Huawei for sourcing 4G devices.
“Over 150,000 people across India are engaged in building out the network and distribution capabilities to make Jio our telecom broadband business a reality,” Ambani added.
Ambani said that Jio's network is ready in 29 circles with coverage across 18,000 cities and towns.
E-commerce, mobile payments and more
Ambani also gave a glimpse of the kind of services which would roll out as an extension of Reliance Jio and also how he is taking his offline retail venture—Reliance Retail, the country's top retailer by revenues and stores—to the online world.
He said, “With the advanced internet infrastructure built by Jio and a robust physical retail business built by Reliance Retail, we will create a differentiated e-commerce model for India.”
Ambani said Reliance Retail's fashion and lifestyle format will roll out its e-commerce property before the end of this year.
The company's grocery e-tailing property reliancefreshdirect would be scaled up with presence in more markets and the firm is also working on to float a marketplace for B2B e-commerce. Reliance already runs offline wholesale cash and carry stores and its initiative in the virtual world would be similar to what Walmart had floated in the country some time back.
Here's a peek at upcoming JIO services:
Switch-and-Walk – an application that allows customers to seamlessly copy and transfer everything from their old phone—contacts, messages, photos, music, media and applications—to another, wirelessly, with just a few easy clicks.
Jio Drive – an application that brings 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.
Jio Play – With this, one will be able to watch HD TV anytime, anywhere, on any device. It has hundreds of channels, across categories and languages.
Jio Beats – a premier digital music streaming service that gives you instant access to millions of songs and curated playlists – from old favourites to the latest hits. One can also download music and listen to it offline.
Jio Mags - provides a collection of popular magazines, in full colour and with a slew of innovative features. One can read past issues along with the latest issues.
Jio News – delivers a one-stop-shop for all news from leading news publishing houses across multiple languages and categories. It offers instant live updates with zero loading time and offline reading capability.
Jio Money – Digital payments and money transfer services including a digital wallet.