India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm has developed a messaging app and plans to release additional apps covering health, finance, e-commerce and TV to differentiate its 4G service from its competitors’.
The operator, which is required to launch 4G service by the end of June, has invested an estimated INR700 billion ($11.2 billion) in its pan-India network. It received its 2.3GHz licence five years ago and faces penalties if it fails hit the midyear deadline.
The Jio Chat app, which runs on iOS and Android handsets, works across different operator networks and will be preloaded once Jio launches its 4G service, the Economic Times reported. In addition to chat, the app has voice and video calling capabilities, and users can send pictures, stickers and drawings.
The app can also deliver short messages in an SMS format to unregistered users at no cost beyond the data charge, but with an SMS cost to the receiver. There is an SMS cap of 100 per month, with a termination charge of INR0.02 per SMS. The recipient is warned of charges when a message arrives.
Citing a Credit Suisse report, the Times said: “We believe the clarity and latency are quite close to normal voice. The data consumed for a call amounts to INR0.24 per minute on Jio Chat on prevailing data tariffs (compared to INR0.65-0.70 per minute for regular outgoing call rates in the market).”
The planned TV app, called Jio Play, will offer all free-to-air TV channels, with the option to watch any programme up to a week old, a source told the Times.
The operator wants the apps to run on all networks to allow users to experience the speed difference between the various networks, the person said.