On Sunday, Reliance Industries' telecom arm- Reliance Jio, launched its much awaited 4G services for its employees. At an event attended by Bollywood icons and industry stalwarts, Mukesh Ambani inaugurated the first leg of the company's fourth generation internet services by saying, "I want all of you to take 5 things back: digital life, connected intelligence, Jio life, Jio together and Why Jio? Because life is going digital." Initially, Reliance Jio was supposed to roll out 4G services by the end of December, but it was expected that this would be done for consumers from select cities rather than just employees. In a smart move by Reliance Industries, only its employees will be able to use these services untill the oficial market launch, but over the years, Jio has been making tall promises when it comes to developing India's internet infrastructure. Here are 4 things tech offerings expected to come from Reliance Jio in the near future.
Reliance Jio is expected to make their 4G internet services available for mobile users by March 2016. Along with internet services, Jio will also offer voice telephony services over 4G. This technology is called Voice over LTE or VoLTE. It is expected that users will get higher call quality over Jio's large share of liberalised spectrum, which it can use to provide all sorts of mobile services.
Reliance Jio has also laid out 250,000Km of fibre-optic networks and is in talks to work with or acquire small cable operators who already have the required infrastructure for connecting homes. At the company's Annual General Meeting this year, Ambani had proclaimed that Jio plans to connect 1 million homes by the end of 2016. “By April of next year, we would have connected over 1 million homes via fibre with a capability of rapidly scaling up in the top 50 cities of India,” said Ambani. Jio has already started providing Jionet Wi-Fi hotspot services in Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhubaneshwar, Mussoorie, Lucknow and parts of Mumbai. According to brokerage firm Credit Suisse, download speeds of 70mbps can be achieved with Reliance Jio's 4G network. This though comes from a beta test. After peaking at 70mbps the speed remained in 15-30 mbps range on most occasions.
In June this year, Reliance Jio Media Pvt Ltd, which is a subsidiary of parent firm Reliance Jio, was granted a provisional approval to launch a pan India MSO. MSO stands for Multi System Operator and can be best described as a large cable company that owns several smaller cable companies. Although Jio has not set up this MSO as of now, the company plans on providing TV channels along with VoD services by 2016.
Given that Reliance Jio is planning to create a benchmark in 4G connectivity, the company also has plans of developing its own app infrastructure with apps in the digital money and digital payment categories, amongst others. Reliance Jio has already partnered with the likes of Intex and Huawei to manufacture Jio enabled handsets which are expected to come with certain Jio apps pre-loaded in the devices.
So, what do you think of Reliance Jio's future plans for Digital India? They seem to sit very well with Prime Minister Modi's vision of digitising the nation, but the question is, will all these services actually see the light of day by 2016? Another very vital point of contention is that will mobile users shift from using the more popular network services like Airtel and Vodafone to a Reliance Jio connection?