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Reliance Jio gets provisional MSO license to enter cable distribution biz

cmn_Reliance Jio

Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) telecom & digital arm Reliance Jio has received a provisional licence to operate as a pan-India multi-system operator (MSO), reports Livemint. Reliance Jio had applied for the license in January this year. The report mentions that it plans to use its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connectivity to offer its prospective customers a number of services, including TV, high speed internet, telephone and wireless connectivity. Note that the license is still subject to approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It’s worth noting that earlier this year, and soon after applying for the MSO license, Reliance Jio had hired former Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd head K Jayaraman as its CEO and had also brought on board former CEO of Den Networks S.N. Sharma as part of the leadership team.

In December last year, Reliance Jio had debuted a preview site for a shot period that provided information on Reliance Jio’s Broadband tariffs, digital services and connectivity bundles among others. Its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Broadband connections termed as FIP Alpha claimed it would offer speeds of 100 Mbps and 100GB usage limit at tariffs starting at Rs 1 per month. Reliance Industries had earlier mentioned that it is rolling-out high speed internet services via optical fibre (FTTX) in over 900 cities/towns in the country, along with piloting Wi-Fi hotspots in eight locations at Ahmedabad and nine locations at Baroda and Surat. Earlier this year, it also launched Wi-Fi hotspots in Kolkata.

Interestingly, in the preview site the company had mentioned that it’s looking to launch a live TV and catch-up TV service called Jio Play, as well as a video on demand (VoD) service called Jio On-demand. Looks like Jio has merged these two into Jio Play, as during the recent RIL AGM Chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Jio Play will be a personalized video on demand application that’ll offer Bollywood, regional and international movies, TV episodes, trailers and music videos in High Definition.

The reason behind foraying in the cable distribution business could also be to have greater control over the distribution of its bouquet of TV channels under Network18, which RIL had acquired in May last year. Network18 runs about 30 news and general entertainment channels across 8 languages. Ambani had said that they’re “working to transform all of these to build and sustain leadership in each of these areas”, and that “by 2017-18 Reliance Jio’s offerings will be the most integrated TV/mobile content in India.”

Jio commercial operations

Earlier this month, RIL announced that Reliance Jio will be rolling out its complete commercial operations by December this year. Apparently, 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, Mukesh Ambani said. He had claimed that Jio will achieve 100% network coverage over the next three years, and that it would also connect a million homes through fibre, with a capability to scale up such connectivity to India’s top 50 cities. He had added that Reliance Jio services will be priced between Rs 300 and Rs 500.

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