Reliance Jio’s Voice and its Data Strategy: Our Take

Reliance JIO Infocomm Logo_bigSince its inception in Indian telecom, Reliance Industry’s telecom arm Jio (formerly Infotel Broadband) is always on the news for the right reasons.  Reliance Jio has created so much hype in the country to change the country’s digital vision that at present the competition is actually with themselves, to deliver what they promised.

Though 4G is already launched in India by Airtel for more than one and half years it is not gaining that momentum which was expected, Reliance Jio keeps the hype of 4G alive. Reliance Jio is very much secretive about their plans, strategy and collaborations. But somehow Jio manages to be in the news and keeps the people waiting for 4G. This can be explained as ‘pre launch customer acquisition‘.

Reliance Jio’s greenfield entry in the telecom market is probably one of the toughest business plan across the globe. They are starting it from a scratch , but perfectly backed up with Reliance Industries’ huge moneyload. They took a middle path – not totally asset light or not totally depending on passive infra providers. Reliance Jio is setting up own towers, laying own OFC network and establishing a submarine OFC network with global partnerships.

Before we discuss data, let’s talk on voice. Reliance will launch voice services, that’s for sure. They spent money to get unified licenses, bagged tons of mobile numbers and was cleared for mobile number portability. And Indian market is yet to move on to data, major part of revenue is still coming from the voice.

But VoLTE over 2300MHz does not seem good, as 2.3GHz band can offer patchy coverage in indoor and outdoor, which will affect the voice services. Also VoLTE is yet to mature, in most of the cases operators use fallback mechanism to offer voice (during voice call the signal drops to 2G/3G from 4G).

Internet voice or IP based voice services is not the exact replacement to traditional voice services and more importantly it requires customer awareness to shift on. Already many video/audio chat services are alive and people use it and to grab a pie from it means Jio have to push customers to use Jio’s own IM services, which would be a pathetic decision.

As Reliance Jio participated in the ongoing 2G auction for 900 MHz and 1800 MHz band, and probably they are bidding fiercely to grab spectrum to leave no stone to offer voice services. 900MHz can also be using for HSPA900 or 3G services, but Reliance Jio is expected to skip 3G as they has LTE/4G. However 5MHz in 900MHz and 1800MHz band with 20MHz in 2300MHz band will help them for carrier aggregation to roll out LTE-Advanced in future.  At present Jio is deploying LTE-TDD over 2300MHz band, but 1800MHz band can help them to roll out LTE-FDD services also. LTE1800 has a stronger ecosystem than any other LTE ecosystem. So Jio can have dual mode LTE networks also.

Reliance Jio is bidding at their best to grab maximum pie of 900MHz and 1800MHz, which might lead to high spectrum price to incumbents and newer players who have participated in the auction. But it can not lead to tariff hike as Jio is to enter in another 4-6 months. And Jio will definitely start a tariff war in this price sensitive market.

Also offering 2G services on 900MHz and 1800MHz means existing mobile customers can easily port out from other service providers and jump into Reliance Jio. These ported-in customers can use mobile broadband over WiFi on their smartphones. Jio’s new customers will definitely buy 4G-LTE supported smartphones.

plans in nutshell

Promotion of WiFi: Bridge LTE to Existing Devices

Reliance Jio have to promote WiFi, as LTE on 2300MHz can not offer total patch-less coverage. Not only that existing smartphone users will not move to Reliance Jio 4G, they may ported in as 2G voice customers, but what about their data services. WiFi bridges there. Reliance Jio will offer MiFi Devices which are actually bridge between Jio 4G network and your existing WiFi enabled devices. With strong OFC coverage Reliance Jio will be a WiFi service provider, that means even you are not a Jio mobile user can buy data and use Jio WiFi on the go. With same log in you can enjoy Jio’s WiFi at any part of India.

Jio will bring the entire ecosystem based on smart devices, I don’t think they have any plan to place basic handset users, who are voice-only customers in their network. Such customers will be shifted to data users by many ways.

Reliance Jio has made several Android apps, which we saw on our review. Jio Play (live TV) and Video on Demand will drive the major change in user’s habit to optimise data growth. Jio showcased its own cloud service – Jio Drive. Jio Drive will enable customers to get their data from anywhere. There are more data hungry apps from them – Jio World, Health App, Jio Mag etc. Jio also associated with several state governments or local city officials to offer them live security feed of the traffic and roads.

Let me make it clear – Reliance Jio do want to be Google or Verizon of India – to offer bouquet of services and it’s cafeteria choice – you can choose anything you want from the offerings. That’s why waiting for the best thing is worthy. With 2G spectrum bagged in, Jio will not take any extra time to launch its digital services (rather than a mere data offerings). As we can expect it might launch services before December 2014.

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  • Bhushan Kohli April 10, 2014 9:42 am

    If Jio has vendor contract for mobiles then it should have in view that mob should have screen of 5-6 inch as it will be data oriented,good long lasting bty & FM enabled.
    We will wait for its announcement.

  • GAnesh February 16, 2014 7:47 pm

    Esmail please cn u tell me ur email id..i want to confirm something with u

  • Ganesh February 13, 2014 8:07 pm

    Could u please tell me why my post doesnt approved?

  • Shubham February 13, 2014 4:55 pm

    Hope there would be tough competition in this segment to curb at leat 3g plans prices

  • RanganathanRajagopalan February 13, 2014 5:41 am

    CDMA 800 MHz is best for voice and data

  • aashu February 12, 2014 9:12 pm

    i think they are expecting too muchfrom telecom sector

    • Saurabh February 13, 2014 5:58 pm

      Yes, RJio is expecting too much from telecom and you would be surprised at my view that they are in the right direction this time around. Don’t look at what they are paying now. Try to look at results which this investment will be providing after 5 years from now when data market will be at its peak.

      Moreover now companies have the option to pay the amount they bid for spectrum in staggered way. They have to shell out only 33% of the total amount for first three years and rest can be given in installments to Govt. At time of 3G auctions, they didn’t had this option and they had to pay the whole amount in 10 days from results. Reliance Industries were looking for new horizons of business other then their core petroleum business from long and they found telecom to be more interesting than anything else. Companies don’t look at short span of time. They invest in future not present. Present conditions are never guarantees of future results. The ball keep on rolling. Today we feel like telecom is gone but wait, there are golden days still to come and it will be for both consumers and the providers. :)

  • Anand February 12, 2014 8:10 pm

    They absolutely want 900 for 3G. That’s the best strategy.
    3G efficient for voice, and small-ticket mobile data usage.
    4G for heavy duty broadband at home and CBDs.

  • Shahebaz khan February 12, 2014 4:51 pm

    When will be jio lanuches its 4g service in bangalore?

    • Chetan February 12, 2014 4:59 pm

      Bangalore launch is still far ahead. Jio plans to launch service first in Delhi NRC, Maharashtra, Kolkata or May be all india one at a time in dec 2014.
      I am too waiting for their service as I am tired or AVOID in Bangalore and tata, aircel and bsnl giving worst service.

  • Esmail February 12, 2014 4:51 pm

    I am not too optimistic about their concept of Jio LTE Homes offering Wifi, Playback TV, home Phone through CPE connected to LTE towers. Though after the current auctions if they launch Voice and FD-LTE on 1800MHz with affordable tariffs I will port in to Jio. But if they decide to go for Voice on 1800MHz and TD-LTE on 2300MHz with CSFB technology, then I will avoid Jio.

    • Ganesh February 13, 2014 8:01 pm

      Esmail
      Cn u tell me ur email id

    • siddharth March 15, 2014 5:44 pm

      Hi

      Are you from mumbai ??

  • imahesh February 12, 2014 3:53 pm

    Reliance jio kuch to launch karo.

  • Muhawid P B February 12, 2014 1:58 pm

    Why OFC laying by jio is stopped in many states?

    • pradeep February 12, 2014 3:45 pm

      Because of may illegal cable been laid out by others.
      so state Govt has temporarily stopped it to put an end to those