Mumbai, September 1, 2016
Reliance Jio, the subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited, on Thursday announced the launch of its services with free voice calling across India and the lowest data rates anywhere in the world through an all-IP, made-for-mobile video, 4G LTE, future-ready network.
Reliance Jio launched, free domestic calls, no roaming charges
Reliance Jio, the subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), today announced the launch of its services with free voice calling across India and the lowest data rates anywhere in the world through an all-IP, made-for-mobile video, 4G LTE, future-ready network.
The company's offerings were unveiled by Mr. Ambani at RIL's 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) here with a series of announcements that have the potential to completely disrupt the market and pose major challenges for incumbents in the sector.
Among other things, Mr. Ambani announced that 4G LTE smart phones would be available at prices starting from Rs. 2,999 and Jio-Fi, a router for those with 2G and 3G devices, for Rs. 1999 to offer an incentive for "all Indians" to migrate to the company's "data strong network".
He said customers would get Jio Apps subscription worth Rs. 15,000 complimentary until December 31, 2017.
He said there would be instant eKYC (Know Your Customer) digital activations, in stores and at home, using the Aadhaar document. Customers would ahve MyJio, a digital companion app for every stage of their "digita life".
Among other things, he also announced a special offer for students with 25 percent more data and incentives to use more and Jio services for enterprises to transform them to digital businesses.
The company is also offering white-glove, exclusive services and features for its platinum customers.
"We are announcing today, that starting coming Monday, the 5th of September 2016, Jio's Data, Voice, Video and the full bouquet of Jio applications and content will be available for everyone, absolutely free, till 31st December 2016," he said. "We are calling this the Jio Welcome Offer."
Mr. Ambani said Jio's pricing principles were about "solving customer pain points".
"We have always put the customer first. And if this means changing the industry, then we are prepared to do so," he said.
He said all voice calls for Jio customers would be absolutey free, across the country, to any network and always, without any roaming charges. "Jio will put an end to voice call charges in India. No Jio customer will ever have to pay for voice calls again," he said.
Noting that current market practice is to charge a base rate of Rs 4,000 – 10,000 per GB of data, he said Jio would have a base rate which is more than at a 90% discount over the industry.
"Our data plans go even further, with an effective rate for data of only 5p/ MB, or Rs 50/ GB. And the more data you use, the lower the rate. I believe that these are the absolute lowest data rates anywhere in the world. Jio makes India the highest quality, most affordable data market in the world," he said.
Mr. Ambani noted that, today, there were more than 22,000 telecom tariffs across the country.
"Jio's pricing structure has 10 main plans. These plans are created to ensure that every user can easily find a plan that fits their budget and their data usage needs. Without getting lost in a forest of false choices. Today Indian citizens pay a low rate for voice services, and very high rates for data," he said.
He said there would be no "blackout days", no "bill shocks" and no "non-transparent, difficult to understand bills".
Jio will have price points starting from Rs 19 for the occasional data user, to a monthly Rs 149 plan for the light data user, upto a monthly Rs. 4,999 plan for the heaviest data user.
He said that in these plans Jio had provided the lowest LTE data rates in the world, with no separate upfront commitment to get these rates.
"Data packs available in the market have an effective rate of about Rs 250/ GB. With Jio, you pay 5 to 10 times lower – Rs 25-50/ GB depending on your data usage.
"Another highlight is unlimited night LTE data. This is designed to pass on the idle network capacity at night to our customers. We are also designing Jio applications in such a way that our customers can program their downloads to happen during night-time, when they have unlimited data. So, even when you are sleeping, the network is working for you to reduce your data cost," he said.
"We are at the beginning of a new era for humanity. In this era, if you are not digital, and if you don't have globally competitive digital tools and skills, you simply will not survive. You will get disrupted. You will be outcompeted. You will be left behind. You will become irrelevant. India and Indians cannot afford to be left behind," Mr. Ambani said.
"Today, India is ranked 155th in the world for mobile broadband Internet access, out of 230 countries. Jio is conceived to change this. I have no doubt that with the launch of Jio, India's rank will go up to among the top ten. 1.2 Billion Indians cannot be left behind as the world enters a new era.
"We have the youngest population in the world. Give them affordable digital tools. Give them the skills. Give them the environment. They will surprise us," he said.
Mr. Ambani said mst legacy telecom providers hadnot built their networks for data or the Internet, but to support voice and SMS.
"As the Internet revolution caught on, they have had to retrofit their legacy networks to deal with data and IP as an afterthought," he said, adding that Jio, on the other hand, had ceated an all-IP network.
"The all-IP design also makes Jio's network the most extensive and future-proof network in the world. It is a network built for ever increasing volumes of data and the best that the Internet has to offer," he said.
He said Jio's 4G network already covers 18,000 cities and towns and more than two lakh villages. It would cover 90% of India's population by March 2017, he said.
He said Jio was the largest only-4G LTE network in the world, which had also deplyed the largest 100% voice over LTE (VoLTE) network for "crystal clear voice and video quality, instant call connectivity, the least call drops and a unique ability to use data and voice simultaneously".
Mr. Ambani also said that Jio had the only network conceived and born as a mobile video network from the ground up. "As we progress, the Internet could offer even more compelling content than video, things like virtual reality and augmented reality. Jio has the necessary foundation to be a leader in these areas as well," he said.
He said the network was future ready and could be easily upgraded to support even more data, as technologies advance on to 5G, 6G and beyond.
"Because of this, we will be able to provide an abundance of high quality, high speed data. And to transform India from a highly priced data market to one with the lowest data rates anywhere in the world," he said.
Mr. Ambani said that, as a result of the pro-active work done by Jio and Reliance Digital teams with all leading device manufacturers, more than 70% of all smartphones sold in the country are 4G LTE smartphones.
He went on to announce a line-up of "super-affordable" 4G LTE smartphones under its LYF brand, starting at Rs 2,999.
More feature-rich models are available for progessively higher price points like Rs. 3999, Rs. 4999 and Rs. 5999, he said.
"And for those users who want to hold on to their 2G/3G smartphones or Wi-Fi capable feature phones, we are
introducing our 4G LTE personal router, called Jio-Fi, for Rs 1,999," he said.
Mr. Ambani said Jio offered a suite of applications that would bring to customers a suite of applications that will provide them the best across the categories of media, entertainment, money and essential utilities.
He said that, with the JioTV entertainment app, customers can watch more than 300 live TV channels including 40 HD channels with access to all of the previous week's programming.
With the JioCinema app, they can watch ad-free, HD movies from a library of 6,000 movies, more than 60,000 music videos and 1 lakh episodes of TV shows in 10 languages.
The JioMusic app, offering ultra-HD music, has a library of 10 million songs in more than 10 languages.
JioMagazine and JioNews will give access to thousands of magazines and daily newspaper updates.
JioMoney is a personal wallet that will allow customers to go cashless.
"I believe that these apps will really showcase the capabilities of Jio's powerful network, and create a magical experience for Jio customers," he said, announcing the bouquet of appls would be available free for all active Jio customers upto December 2017.
He said the revamped activation process provided the company with the capacity to acquire a million customers a day.
Mr. Ambani said Jio was rolling out wi-fi hotspots across India, and that, by the middle of next year, the company planned to deploy nearly 1 million wi-fi hotspots.
"So we have added additional Wi-Fi data in our plans so that our users have another way to use broadband data in colleges, schools and public places.
"Let me assure you that our Jio voice calls, across India, will never be charged to you on any plan. The Industry today charges an average of about 60p/ minute for domestic calls. With Jio you pay 0p/ minute. For international calling, Jio plans give you the best-ever International calling rates. And each of these plans come with an unlimited subscription to every Jio app," he said.
He also said that Jio was in the process of connecting the majority of India's schools and colleges with Wi-Fi to provide broadband wireless data access to students in their classrooms.
Mr. Ambani said Jio would partner with all segments of enterprises and offer them competitive and unique customized solutions. "For our platinum customers, Jio is working to raise the bar when it comes to Digital Life experiences," he said.
"Jio is partnering with a number of premium technology brands to create a set of unique solutions that combine these partners' products with the power of Jio's network and digital services. Further, we have high-end tariff plans that are especially suited for these global citizens with features like the best international roaming rates, and access to the most exclusive international content. We even ensure that they have the best coverage in their homes by installing tiny 4G LTE boxes, called femto-cells, within their premises.
"On top of all this, we will also provide our platinum customers with a series of specialized, white-glove services, such as concierge services and video call centers. We will be announcing more details of these partnerships, tariffs and services in the coming months," he said.
Mr. Ambani said that, with the Jio Welcome Offer, every Indian would get to enjoy Jio Digital Life.
"We Indians have come to appreciate and applaud Gandhigiri. Now we can all do “Data-giri”, which is an opportunity for every Indian to do unlimited good things, with unlimited data," he said.
He said the offer would enable users to experience Jio's digital services and personalise the offerings, even as the company would get to test and stabilize its interconnect with other operators and to ensure superior voice qualityfor calls to other networks.
"We will use the free welcome offer period to get valuable feedback from our customers and to iron out all the defects that we jointly discover," he said.
He said Jio was rolling out a fiber to home wireline network. "This initiative will push the power of data even further, and will offer data speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second. Again, this is on par with the most advanced wireline offerings anywhere in the world. Our plan is to progressively extend this network to more and more cities.
"At the same time, Jio will also be extending this optical fiber network to enterprise locations. We intend to provide multi-gigabit per second enterprise-grade wireline data connections that are on par with those in the developed world.
"Next, Jio is also partnering with some of the leading digital and Internet players in the world. Together with Jio, these partners are keen to showcase the full power and range of their offerings to Indian customers. In many cases, we are working jointly to create first-of-its-kind solutions that are unique to the Indian market.
"We also have plans to partner with thousands of Indian entrepreneurs, whose digital ventures can bloom in the ground that Jio is preparing. For this purpose, we have created a Jio Digital India Startup Fund and are also working to create Digital
Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities and towns of India. Our aim is to build a platform for young Indians who want to create digital businesses of the future. The Jio Digital India Startup fund has set aside Rs 5,000 crores to be invested over the next 5 years," he said.
Mr. Ambanisaid Jio was working closely with Reliance Retail in the area of e-commerce.
"In the coming months, we also plan to introduce apps around Education, Health, Rural Livelihood, Agriculture and many more categories because we truly believe it is time for Digital Life to reach the remotest corners of India," he said.
Mr. Ambani used the opportunity to highlight the contribution of his son, Akash, and daughter, Isha, to Jio, a company with 60,000 employees with an average age of 30 years.
"Jio is a creation of the young, by the young, and for the young.
Akash, and Isha – both 24 – our directors at Jio, have been hands on leaders. They represent the large contingent of less than 30 year olds at Jio. I want to tell all our young people at Jio – Jio is what it is because of your passion, ownership, and an attitude of 'can do'.
"You have proved, that given an opportunity, Indian youth can achieve the impossible and be better than anybody in the world," he said.
Describing Jio as a "customer obsessed organisation", he said he had set the company a target to acquire 100 million customers on its network "in the shortest possible time".
"This translates to a data usage of 250 crore GBs a month, and I am counting on the Jio network team to ensure that Jio's all-IP, only-LTE network delivers flawlessly with the highest quality in the world.
Addrssing existing Indian telecom operators, Mr. Ambani said healthy competition was the lifeblood of a vibrant economy and the entine that drives innovation and customer value.
"No doubt, all of us operators will compete vigorously in the marketplace. I am also sure that, while doing so, we will inspire each other to rise to even greater heights in our quest to serve Indian customers.
"However, Incumbent operators have significant advantages over new entrants, since incumbents have well-established networks and existing customers. New entrants require fair access to both.
"Therefore, the onus is rightly on the incumbent operators not to misuse their market power by creating unfair hurdles, when it comes to providing points of interconnect between their networks and Jio's network. Such hurdles will serve only to create a poor experience for Jio customers who are trying to make calls to incumbent operators' networks.
"In fact, in the last week alone, Jio customers suffered over 5 crores call failures to other networks because of insufficient interconnect capacity provided by incumbents. Giving the impression to common Jio customers that voice is not working, when actually the incumbent operators are deliberately dropping calls.
"This is the reason why telecom operators have legal obligations, as part of their license conditions, to provide Points of Interconnect to other operators. Likewise, they have an obligation to also not to limit customers' right to migrate to Jio using Mobile Number Portability.
"I appeal to my fellow operators to do their part, both in letter and spirit, to create a fair and reciprocal framework of co-operation that is good for India and good for Indian customers," he said.
"With great humility and great love, I present Jio Digital Life to the nation, and invite each and every one of you to sign up and experience Jio services first-hand. And to all my fellow Indians, I have a promise and an appeal. From September 5, India will change forever. I invite you to come and participate in this change.
Let us be this change together, and Jio together," he added.