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Reliance Jio commercial operations to begin in December: Mukesh Ambani

Reliance JioReliance Jio will be rolling out its complete commercial operations by December this year, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said in his speech to investors in the annual general meeting. Over the next few months, the company will be rolling out Internet services on their beta programme which will involve “millions of customers” across India. “I am glad to announce that financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio,” he added.

Jio will achieve 100 per cent network coverage over the next three years, Ambani said, adding that it would also connect a million homes through fibre, with a capability to scale up such connectivity to India’s top 50 cities, and added Reliance Jio services will be priced between Rs 300 and Rs 500.

In addition to rolling out data and broadband services, Ambani also spoke about a slew of Internet services which are currently running on a pilot basis and will be launched shortly which includes a music streaming service, HD video streaming service, cloud-based drive, news and magazine applications, and a digital wallet. MediaNama had earlier in December 2014 reported about these services which was seen on a preview site briefly and has since been taken down.

Digital services

Jio Chat: Mukesh Ambani said that the company has launched its messaging  application Jio Chat in April which integrates chat, voice, video calling, conferencing, file sharing, photo sharing. The application, available on the Goolge Play store and the iOS store, now has over a million active users.

Jio Drive: Reliance Jio is looking to take on Dropbox with its cloud-bsed storage service called Jio Drive which will be available on every smartphone. “Using Jio Drive, anyone can store, sync and share any content between their own devices and also with their friends. This is the type of capabilities that only large enterprises are able to provide to their employees. With Jio Drive, every consumer and small business owner will have this ability,” Ambani said.

On the preview site, it said that Jio will be bundling broadband connections with Jio Drive and will provide 100GB of storage space to consumers.

Jio Play: Jio Play is a  personalized video on demand application that brings Bollywood, regional and international movies,TV episodes, trailers and music videos in High Definition.

Jio Beats: Jio Beats is a music streaming service which will give users access to millions of songs and curated
playlists. The service will also have offline playing capabilities.

Jio Mags: Jio Mags will provide a collection of magazines on mobile and tablet devices. The application will also have multimediafeatures with embedded videos.

Jio News: Jio News will feature news from leading news publishing houses across multiple languages and
categories. It will offer instant live updates with zero loading time and offline reading capability.

Jio Money: Ambani also added that its digital wallet Jio Money’s core product and the end to end systems that support it are operational. “To begin with, we have launched the product within a few Reliance campuses and facilities. We expect to expand the Jio Money presence city by city, across the country in phases over the next few quarters,” he added.

Customers can use Jio Money’s digital wallet, a Jio Money card or any other credit/debit card directly from the wallet to pay merchant seamlessly and instantly. Jio Money digital wallet will also give consumers the option of opening a Digital Bank Account or linking their existing account.

Note Reliance Industries and State Bank of India have formed a joint venture and applied for a payments bank licence. RIL will be the promoter and SBI will be the joint venture partner with an equity investment of up to 30%.

Net neutrality

It is interesting to note that Mukesh Ambani said that the company is committed to Net Neutrality. But however in its submissions to TRAI’s consultation paper  on regulatory framework for Internet services and net neutrality, Reliance Jio had advocated for registration of Internet communications apps to address security issues. 

Jio had also suggested a nominal entry fee and a minimal license fee. We had earlier mentioned that registration is a “light tough” form of licensing, and it does mean that Indian consumers may not get access to the latest global communications apps, if they don’t register with the government or host in India. Would Whatsapp have grown if it had needed to take permission to operate in India?

It had also suggested that there should be Regulation of other (non communication) Internet companies. To quote from its submission: “Other OTTs (who strictly do not offer any communication services) need not adhere to such security requirements, however there may be certain sector specific requirements that may be relevant for these OTTs and therefore it is only fair that there is a clear and transparent regulatory framework mechanism that addresses these requirements.”

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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