A big Reliance Jio announcement is on the card today. Reliance Industries Limited’s Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani will be addressing the employees and stakeholders of the company and the event will be broadcast live at 1.30 pm on the company’s social media channels. The official Jio handle on YouTube is flameoftruth2014 and there’s another one called Jio Digital Life which will have the livestream.
Reliance Jio Play, the company’s own app for streaming movies, will also have the announcement being broadcast live. So what is expected from the announcement today?
For starters, reports indicate that Reliance Jio’s Welcome offer could be extended to March 2017. The offer gives customers free unlimited voice, video calling, SMS and unlimited daily data, However, a TRAI order had said that Reliance will have to end the Jio 4G Welcome offer by December 4.
Interestingly, a Jio spokesperson said the Jio Welcome Offer or JWO “benefits of free unlimited Voice and data will be available to all subscribers up to December 31, 2016”. But, the “JWO will be available to new consumers for subscription till December 3, 2016,” the spokesperson said. This means new customers who buy a Jio SIM post December 3 won’t be able to get the free offer and will have to try out the paid tariff plans.
Reliance Jio Payments Bank is another possible announcement that could be made by the company. As Indian Express reported today Jio Payments Bank Ltd, a joint venture of Reliance Industries Ltd, and State Bank of India, was incorporated on November 10, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). In September 2015, the payments bank had received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India, with a validity of 18 months, within which it was to be set up. Rival Airtel’s Payments bank has already started on a pilot basis in Rajasthan.
Announcement of Jio Fiber is something else that is expected but looks unlikely right now. In fact as IndianExpress.com had reported, Jio Fiber will not just promise high-speed internet, but will also have a very strong content play just like the Jio smartphones. It will offer a wide variety of television channels, movies, and games, all bundled together.
Given the level of interest in Jio, Mukesh Ambani’s announcement will be closely watched. Reliance Jio already has over 50 million subscribers in just 83 days since the service went live. The company has set a target of 100 million subscribers. Reports also claim Reliance Jio could introduce a feature phone with 4G LTE capabilities.
Jio’s entry in the market has sparked a data war with rivals Airtel, Vodafone offering extra data and slashing prices for their consumers in order to retain them. With Reliance Jio, there is another service called Jio Fiber which is much-awaited. Jio Fiber is promising 1GBps speed for wired broadband in home, and is already being tested in some parts of India.
While the Jio launch has seen people line up to get SIMs, there are issues with speeds and call connectivity that have cropped up since the number of subscribers went up. Since Reliance Jio is entirely a 4G LTE based network, high-speed internet is crucial to its success, but post the launch it has found it difficult to maintain this.
In October, Speedtest app maker Ookla’s data had shown that they saw a significant jump in the number of speed-tests being done on Jio 4G LTE network from January to September 2016. Speedtest’s data also showed that Reliance Jio’s mean average speeds have been declining since it got more users on board.
According to the data, speeds for “4G capable phones actually decreased 23% month-over-month from 11.31 Mbps to 8.77 Mbps, continuing a downward trend for 2016.” The report also adds that Reliance Jio’s claims of 135Mbps as average speed across the board are still a dream, and that even the “top 10% of tests averaged out at 17.77 Mbps in September.”
Declining speeds aside, Reliance Jio has been seen as a great disruptor in the Indian smartphone and data market. According to research firm IDC, India has seen a boost in 4G smartphone shipments with Jio’s entry. Reliance has not yet confirmed what it will be announcing at the event, but no doubt the Jio side of the story will be closely watched from all quarters.