Indian operator Reliance Jio signed up 100 million subscribers in its first five months of operation, company chairman Mukesh Ambani (pictured) announced.
The Press Trust of India reported Ambani’s comments at the India Leadership Forum event, confirming the operator reached its launch target in a much shorter time than anticipated.
He said: “When we started Jio we set a target of 100 million customers in [the] shortest [possible] time. Even we didn’t imagine we will do it in months.”
Jio launched its service in September 2016, offering a range of free data, voice and messaging services in a bid to quickly build its subscriber base. Although the deals were initially due to expire in December, Jio since extended the period to end-June.
Rival operators have responded by slashing their own prices and increasing data allocations in a bid to retain customers.
The availability of free services led to market leader Bharti Airtel filing a complaint with the country’s regulator. Jio’s policies have also been criticised by Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao who said the company is in an “excellent position to recover the market when the newcomer starts billing.”
Official connection figures for the end of 2016 are unavailable, but prior to Jio’s entry Airtel had 254 million non-M2M connections, Vodafone was second in the market with 198 million and Idea Cellular had 175 million.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular recently entered merger talks in a bid to secure their positions in the market.