Reliance Jio: Company Rolls Out 4G Service to Employees at Launch Event in Navi Mumbai

Mukesh Ambani introduced his much-touted 4G telecom services on Sunday evening, restricting it only for Reliance employees for now, as the petroleum-to-retail corporate giant prepares to shake the telecom industry with a full-bloodied 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 as low as Rs 4,000 and a host of services along with the 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 in for an aggressive pricing for his 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 to date (after retail) and it has pumped in nearly Rs 1 lakh crore into the business which aims to take on the established telecom behemoths such as homegrown Bharti Airtel, Britain’s Vodafone and Aditya Birla group’s Idea Cellular head-on.

The battle for customers in the fiercely-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 for the employees at a glittering ceremony at Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai in the presence of mother Kokilaben, wife Nita Ambani and children Isha, Akash and Anant.

Anil Ambani made it to the event with wife Tina while corporate chieftains at the event included ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar and HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh.

 The incumbents have already been preparing for the launch of Reliance Jio with Airtel, Vodafone and Idea all launching their 4G services ahead of the Ambani venture. Sunil Mittal, the Chairman of the Bharti group, has conceded that the entry of Ambani will intensify competition in the telecom sector, but added that Airtel is “prepared to face the onslaught”.
Akash and Isha, both directors on Reliance Jio, played a pivotal role in the ceremony on Sunday as they – along with Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan – introduced the various services that the telecom venture will offer.
Mindful of the requirement of a massive infrastructure spread for launching mega telecom services, Reliance Jio has already stitched up tie-ups with various operators. While it has a spectrum trading and sharing deal with Reliance Communications, it has signed up tower-sharing deal with nearly all the other operators while working on fiber optic deals with RCoM and Bharti.
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