If someone asks me, what has been the single greatest advancement in the Digital India initiative over this decade, I’ll gladly tell him about Reliance Jio, the new beacon of Digital India rights. What the Rajiv government did with the computer revolution in India in 1991, Modi government has done with Internet revolution and the chief architect in all this has been Jio. I’ve been personally using Jio from last 6 months from now and can truly say that it has left behind all its competitors.
In 2014, our PM Narendra Modi showed us the dream of a digitized India, where everyone has access to the internet. A part of this dream was fulfilled in 2016 by another visionary, Mukesh Ambani, through his ambitious project Jio. What Jio has done was unthinkable a couple of years back, it has provided millions of Indians with access to the internet. From big towns to small villages, Jio has its presence everywhere.
What one needs to observe in between all of this is how Jio has single-handedly led to the dynamic change in the number of internet users in India, thus leading to a more digitized and internet savvy populace, which is now connected to the world around it. Reliance Jio boasts a customer base of over 100 million from all over the country.
Kleiner Perkins recently released Internet Trends 2017 where in they analyzed the data patterns and usage of India and needless to say Jio has played a major role toward enabling more users to access Internet for the first time in their lives!
When we talk about the digitization of India and the tremendous role Jio has played in it, we need to know about some key points.
- Despite its tremendous potential, India has, over the years, lagged behind in the technical sphere as compared to other developed countries. The main reason behind this was the lack of infrastructure throughout the country. Reliance, through its resources, has laid over 250,000 km of Optical Fiber Cable across India, also they have installed more than 90,000 4G LTE towers.
- Technically speaking, the optical fiber cables laid by Jio have 288 individual fibers in it, 90 at some places. Most of the others are still using the old cables with 12 or 24 fibers in it. More fibers mean, more bandwidth, which means more speed.
- Jio has contributed massively to the digital infrastructure of India by bringing net access to millions of people in India Jio opened up an affordable network to people without access and increased mobile penetration in the market by 30% It has virtually dragged the telecom industry into the future by emphasising more on data as a movement and had brought about an overall evolution in the technology and pricing in the whole industry because of its advanced 4G network and disruptive rates.
- It took Jio only 170 days to reach 100 million customers base, one of the fastest we’ve ever seen. Not just that, According to an ET Telecom report, by 1st April 72.2 million Jio Customers had opted for Jio Prime.
- Jio owns spectrum in 850 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands in ten and six circles, respectively, of India’s 22 circles, and also owns pan-India licensed 2,300 MHz spectrum. The spectrum is valid till 2035.
- Reliance Jio covers more than 18000 cities all over the country and the number is only increasing every day.
- Reliance Jio is already the 4th biggest telecom operator in India with stats up till 31st March showing 9.29% market share, in just 6 months. People’s love for Jio has been so much that in March, 6.03 million subscribers opted for number portability and moved over to Jio.
- Not just Jio, Reliance reportedly sold more than 7 million LYF- branded smartphone in its first year, or rather a few months.
You can see in the below graph of how Internet usage has dramatically increased after the launch of Reliance Jio!
The core difference between Jio and other players in the market has been their approach to the existing customers and their approach of reaching new markets. When everyone else was busy in increasing prices of 3G internet packs, lest alone introducing the 4G, Jio came up with 4G for all, all over India, at absolutely no cost for first 6 months, and blazing speeds. At that moment, Jio didn’t just win the game but also changed the way it was played. Every other operator has slashed prices and given more value to their existing user base after the arrival of Jio and that’s a great thing! The growth Reliance Jio has experienced in its first few month has been phenomenal. Add to this the fact that it is available in more than 18000 cities in the country, whereas some people can hardly name 18, while it will be great struggle for most to name 180. Our country needed exactly the same type of digitization to move ahead which Jio has provided.
The future of Digitalization in India is unfathomable. With a population nearing around 1.5 billion, India will soon be the country with most no. of internet users. Jio too has an important role to play in this. I remember when demonetisation hit the Indian economy, how Jio played an important role in keeping the transactions going, either through net banking or apps like Paytm. With more focus on Internet banking in recent days, access to the internet has become a necessity for people. Today, most of our entertainment, the news we read, education portals, everything has an online presence and we the millennials need the internet as much as we need food.
The process of digitization has seen a massive movement forward after the initiation of Jio, not from just Jio itself, but from others as well. Old players like MTNL, Airtel, Vodafone, and others have too dropped their prices considerably, introduced new plans and increased the competition. Digitization is the way forward, and we as a country absolutely need it. A digital India is the future India, and Jio will be playing a massive role in it. One good news here is, In February 2017, Jio announced a partnership with Samsung to work on LTE – Advanced Pro and 5G. On that note, I’ll end this.
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