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Despite the rampant call drops issue it is facing since launch, Reliance Jio Thursday said it is adding anywhere between 0.6 million and 1.1 million customers a day and maintained it will be investing Rs 1 trillion more in operations by 2020.
The telecom arm of RIL commercially launched mobile services on September 12, and within a month, it had claimed to have created history by adding 16 million customers. The Mukesh Ambani-led firm, which invested Rs 1.45 trillion in setting up the business, is targeting 100 million customers within a year of commercial launch.
“We are adding a low of 0.6 million and a high of 1.1 million customers a day,” Reliance Jio business head Anshuman Thakur told reporters here while announcing the second quarter earnings of the parent Reliance Industries in Mumbai this evening. But he declined to put an absolute number of customers as of today and also refused to reconfirm whether the company is on course to achieve the 100 million customer mark by the end of the first year of commercial operations.
Since its launch Jio customers have been complaining of call drops as the company has not been able to secure sufficient number of points of interconnect with existing players.
Reliance Group Chief Financial Officer V Srikanth clarified the Rs 2.5 trillion investment into the telecom venture that Chairman Mukesh Ambani had spoken about earlier this week pertains to the additional capex of Rs 1 trillion expected through 2020.
“We have already invested Rs 1.45 trillion into Jio at the launch. What the Chairman was referring to was the additional capex of Rs 1 trillion expected over the next four years to 2020 when we will have to invest more into expanding the fibre connectivity to individual homes and other network expansion related expenses,” Srikanth said.
On the retail business, Srikanth said, of the total revenue of Rs 8,079 crore in the September quarter, which was up 63 per cent from the comparative period last fiscal year, the telecom handset revenue contributed around Rs 1,300 crore and the petroleum retail revenue came in at Rs 1,200 crore.
Despite a massive rise in revenue, the company’s margins declined to 2 per cent, while pretax profit rose to Rs 162 crore, up 42.1 per cent. Asked about regulator Trai directing Jio to end the free services by December 3, Thakur said the order pertains to the new connections and not to the existing customers who can enjoy the free services till December 31, and is as per the licence agreement.