Reliance Jio has already shaken up the telecom industry in India with its Reliance Jio 4G service offerings. However, the company has more up its sleeve. In fact, in a few months the conglomerate will roll out its direct to home services, which have the potential to make life hard for existing broadband players as well as DTH operators.
The service will come in the form of a high-speed optical fibre – pushing speeds up to 1 Gbps. The cables are already laid for most of India and some pilot services are being offered in part of Mumbai. There is no clarity yet on the final hardware offering or the date of full rollout. As far as pricing goes, the company has suggested that it will offer value for the customer like with all its Jio services.
Customers of the service will get access to high-speed internet, as well as a host of Jio services. The hardware will include a set-top-box, as well as an Android smartbox or Apple TV that will help them control the content and also play games.
The speeds will be unprecedented for the Indian home segment where 16Mbps is considered a luxury. With the Jio fibre offering — if everything goes well — customers will be able to stream and play high-definition games with multiple players. Also, 4K videos will become much more easier to access without any buffer.
However, where Jio could bring in big impact is with JioTV which will offer more than 360 channels, at least 50 of which will be in HD. The offering is differentiated by existing players because of the seven-day catch up option. This content is not saved locally, but on Jio servers and pulled in as per demand. Users will be able to use a voice enabled remote to search by channel, show, category or even by the names of actors.
It is not new for broadband services to offer television channels. MTNL tried IPTV many years ago while Airtel too has a similar service. However, none have been really successful. For households with multiple televisions, a single router will work but with individual set-top-boxes.
Then there is Jio MediaShare, with which the company is promising the ability to locally play content across all your devices from your PC or hard-drive – using the Home Gateway. Jio is also working on solutions to make legacy music systems and televisions smart.
Plus, the service wants to push internet-of-things (IOT) as well. It will use smart plugs (already available in the market) to control appliances in a home. The home gateway will also enable better security of home through surveillance with real-time monitoring via cameras, connected doorbells and motion sensors.
Despite the ambitious plans, it might take a few months for the services to be rolled out as Jio wants to go pan-India with whatever services they have. Also at the moment getting the necessary permissions to install the Jio Fibre into residential societies and other private compounds is proving to be the bigger hurdle. However, Jio certainly stands out for being the first to offer, or at least think of, a whole bouquet of services that are linked to the web.