Indian mobile operator Reliance Jio aims to capture market share with new discounts on its low-cost phones and says its network has the capacity to handle any surge in data demand.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of the operator’s parent company Reliance Industries (pictured), said Jio more than doubled its network capacity over the past 12 months, noting even with 215 million customers its network utilisation rate is less than 20 per cent, “which means we can multiple our customer base without additional investment”.
Users are on its network an average of 290 minutes per day: “We were the world’s largest mobile data network last year, and the gap from the others has only widened in the last 12 months,” he said during the company’s AGM.
With as many as 500 million Indians still using feature phones and unable to access the internet, he said on 21 July it is launching a special offer for customers to trade-in their existing feature phone for a new JioPhone for INR501 ($7.30), which retails for INR1,500.
“Our purpose is to accelerate the digital revolution in India with the extreme affordability of a JioPhone.”
He set a goal of 100 million JioPhone users “in the shortest possible time” without specifying a timeframe. The operator said it has 25 million JioPhone users: it launched the devices in July 2017.
Ambani noted India is ranked 134th globally for fixed-line broadband speeds, and Jio is determined to move India to the top five.
“We will now extend fibre connectivity to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises across 1,100 cities to offer the most advanced fibre-based broadband connectivity solutions,” he said.
The operator is running beta trials of JioGigaFibre in tens-of-thousands of homes and will open up registration on 15 August. He said it will prioritise rollout to the areas where it receives the highest number of registrations.
GSMA Intelligence estimates Jio had a 16 per cent market share by mobile connections at end-Q2, slightly behind third-ranked Idea Cellular (17 per cent).