India’s Ambani plans 4G “disruption” for DTH

Indian business giant Mukesh Ambani who is chairman & MD of Reliance Industries, itself India’s second largest business, and India’s richest individual, used the company’s AGM to showcase a new smartphone, the advanced JioPhone which he says will permit users to view JioTV and Jio Cinema as well as make calls, and in the process, disrupt the country’s cable TV and DTH businesses.

Users will have to pay a one-off security fee of 1500 Rupees (about €20), which is fully refundable provided the phone is returned intact. Net-net, you pay nothing for the JioPhone,” Ambani said during the AGM.

Users will be limited to a 500 Mb of data a day, and unlimited ‘free’ voice calls for an all-in fee of 153 Rupees a month. Ambain says the other fees to access 450 live TV channels, as well as thousands of movies will be “affordable”.

Ambani’s news sent the share prices of most of his cable and TV competitors down. Dish TV fell almost 6 per cent, with Hathway Cable fell almost 3 per cent.

Jio has already set the market alight. Launched just 10 months ago, Ambani says the cellular system has now signed up more than 100 million customers “in less than 170 days” and represents the fastest-ever roll-out of a cellular service anywhere in the world. Today’s subscriber count is an impressive 125 million.

He claimed that Reliance’s Jio service is now consuming more cellular data than the US or China. “Starting March of this year, Jio successfully undertook the largest migration from free to paid services in history. And we have converted the majority of our free customers to paid customers. Today, Jio has more than 100 million paying Jio Prime customers.”

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