Reliance Industries oil & gas group is country’s most profitable group. Now, India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani is betting $20 Billion on building a national digital empire from scratch, stretching from phones and hardware to home entertainment and custom- made apps.
This enthusiastic Reliance Jio project could make Reliance the most comprehensive provider of telecom and internet services all over India. It will also give it unprecedented access to the country’s untapped ‘big data’.
“For Reliance… data is the new oil, and intelligent data is the new petrol,” Ambani said in March, explaining his ride to move closer to India’s consumers.
Jio may not contribute significantly to Reliance profits anytime soon, but it is hugely significant for its future. Reliance has played previously in consumer sectors, yet Jio is seen as a big opportunity for Ambani to set a new course.
Jio is also a potentially landmark opportunity for India, where smartphone usage has sky rocketed in last few years like mobile payments and online entertainment have become commonplace.
The prospect of Jio has already raised hopes of cheaper, more reliable data for Indian telecom users. It has already drawn big queues at some stores by offering free connections with unlimited data for a three-month period, allowing it to test its network.
That has stirred its big rivals. India’s largest wireless provider Bharti Airtel this week cut its 3G/4G data plans on prepaid connections by more than 40 percent, after reducing 50%of them a month ago.
Two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion population is not online, and Jio want & hopes to capture 100 million users – nearly half of India’s current smartphone users – within a year of launch.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea refused to comment on Jio.
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From ITvoir News Desk