Reliance Jio’s soft launch in April may be aimed at testing whether the 4G network is capable of handling the data load of millions of consumers so that the company does not face any network glitches when it commercially launches after three-to-six months, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The brokerage firm said that any bad consumer experience at the time of testing would still be manageable for the telco, as it would currently be a free service. Reliance Jio may initially offer free voice and data services to Lyf handsets owners during the soft launch phase.
The firm expects very few takers for Jio’s Lyf handsets during the soft launch phase. “In our view, not many users would pay Rs 5000-to-20000 to buy a Lyf handset for accessing free data for just three months as there is limited visibility on the tariffs Reliance Jio will charge beyond the three months,” the brokerage said.
It said that if Jio wants more users on its network, it would make these services available to any consumer who would buy its (4G) SIM independently and use it with their existing handsets. The brokerage firm however expects a majority of consumers opting for cheaper “MiFi devices priced in the Rs 700-to-800 range, upon availability.
“If Jio wants to stand out as a good quality network with minimal call drops, the company would need to add an 850 Mhz overlay to its existing 1800/2300 MHz Mhz network, which could delay the launch to December,” according to According to the US brokerage.
Earlier, Credit Suisse had said that Reliance Digital stores have received stocks of Jio SIM cards, as Reliance Jio readying a possible soft launch of 4G services soon. It added customers would be able to pick up a Jio SIM card for Rs 200, which should come with free data and voice valid for three months.