Reliance Industries’ Jio telecom unit hit 100 million subscribers in 170 days, chairman Mukesh Ambani announced today.
That means, Jio added seven customers every second, Ambani added at a video conference today. He further announced that once Jio starts charging customers in April, all domestic voice calls to any network will always remain free.
“Jio users consumed more than 1 billion GB of data per month on the Jio network. That’s more than 33 million GB a day,” Ambani said, adding that it has more than double the number of 4G base stations when compared to all the other Indian operators put together.
Mukesh Ambani had already hinted last week that Jio surpassed the 100 million subscriber mark; he confirmed that today.
Jio has more than double the number of 4G base stations when compared to all the other Indian operators put together
When Jio starts charging customers in April, voice calls will still remain free, he said.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd opened for business in September and shook up the country’s competitive telecoms market with its free voice and cheap data plans that are slated to run through the end of March.
“When we started Jio and we set a target for ourselves in terms of saying that we will acquire a 100 million customers in the shortest time, even we didn’t imagine that we will do it in months in terms of that,” Ambani said at the time.
Concerns remain about whether Jio will be able to retain its subscribers once it begins charging for its services post March. Analysts say many subscribers are using Jio as a second mobile connection to take advantage of its free data plans.
Jio’s launch came after years of delay. Reliance Industries has already invested more than $20 billion into the venture.
Shares of some of Jio’s rivals fell ahead of Ambani’s speech, with Bharti Airtel down 2.2 percent. Idea Cellular fell as much as 1.1 percent but recovered to gain 0.41 percent later in the day.
Bharti Airtel and Idea are India’s largest and third-largest telecoms network operators, respectively.
The competition posed by Jio is cutting into profits across the sector, with Bharti Airtel reporting its lowest profit in four years in the October-December quarter. Idea posted its first ever quarterly loss over the period.
Jio’s emergence has also spurred consolidation in the sector with Idea and Vodafone Plc’s Indian unit, the market’s second biggest player, beginning talks for a planned merger of their operations.
SOURCE: Times of India