Mukesh Ambani launched his 4G telecom services on Sunday evening, restricting it only to Reliance employees for now, as the company gears up to shake up the telecom industry with a commercial launch around March next year.
For Ambani, this is the second calling in the telecom business after his first venture, Reliance Communications, went into the kitty of younger brother Anil as part of a family settlement between the siblings. On offer from Reliance Jio Infocomm will be low-cost 4G devices (under 'Lyf' brand) costing Rs 4,000 and a host of services along with regular voice and data. These will include a big collection of music (Jio Beats); around 200 television channels with back-up (Jio Play) and movies (Jio on-demand).
At the commercial launch, Ambani is expected to go for aggressive pricing for offerings which are expected to come bundled with a host of SIM cards (to make it a family offering) and large data-pack plans.
The telecom entry is one of the group's most ambitious project till now (after retail) and it has pumped in around Rs 1 lakh crore to take on established telecom behemoths such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
The battle for customers in the competitive telecom business is expected to get intense and market analysts feel that Reliance's entry will bring down mobile and data prices further in India which already boasts of giving the world's cheapest tariffs. The 90,000-odd employees of the group go live on the voice-over-LTE (4G) network from Monday, the 83rd birthday of Reliance group founder Dhirubhai Ambani.
"India and Indians cannot afford to be left behind in this new world. However, India is ranked around 150 in the internet and mobile broadband penetration out of 230 countries. Jio is conceived to change this," Ambani said as he unveiled the services Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai in the presence of mother Kokilaben, wife Nita and children Isha, Akash and Anant.
Anil Ambani was present with wife Tina, while corporate heads at the event included ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar and HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have launched their 4G services. Sunil Mittal, chairman of the Bharti group, said Airtel is "prepared to face the onslaught".
Akash and Isha (both directors on Reliance Jio) along with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, introduced the various services that the telecom venture will offer.
Reliance Jio has tied up with various operators to build up infrastructure. While it has a spectrum trading and sharing deal with Reliance Communications, it has signed up tower-sharing deal with nearly all other operators. It is also working on fiber optic deals with RCoM and Bharti.