India’s 4G newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm claims to have signed up 52 million subscribers in less than three months since its official launch in early September.
In a televised speech, Reliance Industries chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani also announced it is extending its free voice, data and video offer from the end of the year to the end of March, as part of its new year offer, which starts on 4 December.
He said it is adding about 600,000 subscribers per day, with each customer on average using 25 times more data than the average Indian broadband user. “Jio is not only delivering four times more data than all the country’s operators combined, but also much faster throughputs than any other mobile network in India.”
Ambani said in September it is targeting 100 million subscribers “in the shortest possible time” and the network will eventually cover 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages in India.
With 80 per cent of customers using up to 1GB of data a day and the remaining 20 per cent “using disproportionately more data”, Jio has set a daily limit of 1GB and reduces the data speed to 128Kb/s when users exceed the limit.
With so many customers signing up for its free welcome offer in September, he acknowledged it has faced a few issues with data speeds on its network. “About 8 per cent of Jio towers have experienced congestion due to abnormally high data usage. As a result, customers served by these towers have experienced lower data speeds.”
Bringing up the issue of limited interconnection capacity from the incumbent operators, Ambani said that while there has been an improvement in recent days following intervention from the government and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Jio’s subscribers have not been able to enjoy the benefits of free HD voice services.
Late last month Jio filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India, once again accusing the country’s top three operators of not providing sufficient interconnections.
He also announced the launch of the Jio Money Merchant app, which retailers can download on 5 December. It aims to sign up more than 10 million small retailers in the coming weeks across 17,000 towns and 400,000 villages.
“This solution provides access to Jio’s suite of services, including customised offerings such as digital money, for a very important segment of the Indian economy. This will enable digital transactions of all types, whether they be at Mandis, small shops, restaurants, railway ticket counters, for bus and mass transit and even for person-to-person money transfers,” he said.