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‘Will extend free preview offer if subscribers don’t get adequate experience’: Jio

RIL Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Jio said that it may extend the period of its free welcome offer in case the management finds that “subscribers are not able to get adequate experience” of the promotional offer, while announcing its second quarter results (Q2 FY17). The company said that it is facing interconnection issues with some operators which subsequently reduced quality of service during the promotional period.

While announcing its services in September, Jio said that it will offer unlimited data, national voice, video and messaging services for free until December 31st. However, it will not provide these free benefits to new consumers who get Jio SIMs after December 3rd; these consumers will have to opt for tariff plans. Additionally the company said that TRAI has acknowledged the tariff plans and other offers, and that it is in compliance with the prevailing regulations.

Apart from this the company revealed that the Aadhaar-based authentication is now live across 4,100 cities and towns. The company’s consumer tech retail distribution store Reliance Retails claims to have sold over 3 million LYF smartphones during this quarter, and claims a network of 1,917 Reliance Digital and Digital Express Mini stores across the country. It also claims that over 500,000 independent retailers across the country have signed up with Jio to sell devices, recharge packs, etc.

On call failures and interconnection

While, announcing its Q2 FY17 results, Jio said it will use the welcome offer time period for resolving interconnection related issues it has faced with rival operators including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone. Jio and the incumbent operators have been continuously accusing each other over interconnection. Earlier Jio claimed that cores of calls were failing while interconnecting with Airtel, Idea and Vodafone networks. TRAI has also decided to step in to resolve the issue. A timeline of this can be read here.

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The company said that over 75 calls are failing out of every 100 call attempts on the networks of some of the operators (Jio did not name the operators). “This is in breach of Quality of Service regulation that not more than 5 calls out of every 1,000 call attempts can fail,” it added. Jio also accused incumbent operators of being anti-competitive, and claimed that they have breached license conditions.

Quick Recap of Jio announcements and developments

Spectrum Purchase: Reliance Jio  acquired 269.2 MHz of spectrum across the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and the 2300 MHz band, paying Rs 13,672 crore. It currently claims to have a quantum of 1,108 MHz worth of spectrum across 22 circles, with an average spectrum holding capacity of 16 years.

Over 16 million users: The operator claimed last month to have onboarded “16 million users” in 26 days since its launch. The numbers are up significantly from July during the test-phase when it claimed to have 1.5 million users on its network who consumed 26GB of data per user per month.

IoT plans: A Team-bhp report last month mentioned that Jio might have a new IoT product in works. The report mentioned that the company is currently testing ‘Jio Car Connect’, an On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) device that can be plugged into a car’s OBD module to record and track engine and other vehicular related data.

Tie up with mobile manufacturers: In early July, Jio tied up with Samsung smartphones to extend its free preview offer to consumers who purchased new Samsung 4G smartphones. By end of August, Jio had tie ups with 19 different smartphone brands including Micromax, Yu Phones, HTC, Vivo, Intex, Alcatel, TCL, Gionee, Karbon, Xolo, Lava, Sony, Videocon & Sansui.

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Jio apps: The company has 11 different mobile apps for users, which seems more like a replacement for existing utility apps. These include: MyJio, JioChat, JioPlay, JioOnDemand, JioBeats, JioMaags, JioXpressNews, JioDrive, JioJoin, JiMoney, and JioSecurity. Note that its wallet service JioMoney went live in May with more than 50,000 online merchants. At that time the company said users can attract a maintenance fee for dormant accounts if the account is left dormant for more than 12 months.

Fund raise: In July, Reliance Industries said that it would infuse Rs 15,000 crore into Reliance Jio through a rights issue, which could take the total investment to about Rs 60,000 crore. In the same month, RJio was looking to raise Rs 2,000 crore through 5 year bonds via private placement.

Spectrum sharing: Reliance Jio and RCOM had entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum to provide LTE services. RCOM and RJio have signed agreements in spectrum allotment in 800 MHz band across 9 Circles from RCOM to Reliance Jio. The companies also agreed to share spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 Circles. Last month, a Mint report said that RCOM and Reliance Jio had virtually merged their networks as per statements issued by Anil Ambani.

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