Will Jio Fiber be next disruptor?

Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Monday announced the roll-out of 'Jio Fiber' from September 5, promising free voice calls for life from landlines, 100 mbps minimum broadband speed at subscription starting from Rs 700 a month and free HD TV set on a commitment to an annual plan.

Speaking at the 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM), Reliance Industries' Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said Jio will also offer unlimited international calling pack from its landlines to the US and Canada at Rs 500 a month, and that default tariff plans will be one-fifth to one-tenth of existing market tariffs.

"...voice calls from home to any Indian operator - mobile or fixed - will be absolutely free forever. On fixed-line international voice calling, we are today ending the era of high international calling rates on landline by announcing the lowest fixed line rates for international calling...," he said.

Jio Fiber services would be available on a commercial basis from September 5. "...the average fixed-line download speed in the US which is the most developed economy is around 90 Mbps.

In India even the most basic Jio Fiber plan starts with 100 Mbps speed and we have plans all the way up to 1 Gbps or 1000 Mbps," he said adding that this would improve the quality of fixed-line data in India.

Declaring that the plans will come at less than one-tenth of global rates, Ambani said Jio Fiber plans will be priced between Rs 700 to Rs 10,000 per month "to suit every budget".

The plans, will come bundled with subscriptions to most leading premium Over The Top (OTT) applications. "Also, for the first time in India, we are introducing a disruptive concept for watching new movies.

Premium Jio Fiber customers will be able to watch movies in their living rooms the same day these movies are released in theatres," he said. This service - Jio First Day First Show - will be launched in mid-2020.

Over the last two years, the RIL AGMs have been a platform to showcase new and upcoming initiatives of the Group. Last year, speaking at the company's 41st AGM, Ambani had said the Jio Giga Fiber Service will provide ultra-high definition entertainment on TV, voice activated assistance, virtual reality gaming and digital shopping as well as smart home solutions.

It was widely-expected that he would spell out the details of the commercial roll-out of Jio Giga Fiber at Monday's AGM. Jio has been scaling up Jio Giga Fibre infrastructure in various cities over the last few months, and half a million homes have already been given access to it on a trial basis.

Ambani said that since its announcement last year, Jio received over 15 million registrations from nearly 1,600 towns. "And based on these registrations, we have drawn up a plan to reach 20 million residences and 15 million business establishments in these 1,600 towns," Ambani said.

The company will also offer special mobility service for Jio Fiber users to deliver a platinum-grade service and product experience.

Jio Postpaid Plus will offer priority SIM-setup service at home. It would also provide data and voice connectivity across all devices, both at home and outside, along with family plans and international roaming at a fraction of a cost.

"The experience of Jio Fiber and Jio Set Top Box really comes to life when combined with an LED TV. So, Jio Fiber customers who opt for our annual plans which we call Jio Forever plans, will get an HD or 4K LED TV and a 4K set top box absolutely free," he said.

Ambani said that Jio which has amassed over 340 million mobile subscribers in less than three years, is now ready to fire four new growth engines including Internet of Things (IoT) for the entire country, home and enterprise broadband services as well as broadband for SMEs.

Revenue from each of these engines will flow in from this fiscal itself. The investment cycle of Reliance Jio is complete, and about Rs 3.5 lakh crore has been invested in its digital network, he said.

Ambani said that India was "data dark" before the entry of Jio, and its launch has made India "data-shining bright".

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