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If Manoj Kumar had made his film ‘Roti Kapda aur Makaan’ in the year 2016, the movie would have been called, ‘Roti, kapda, Makaan aur Internet’.

In the last half decade, we have become so accustomed of internet that it becomes hard to fathom life without it. This has happened more so, since the dependable Nokia models that had years of battery life and a rock body were replaced by gorgeous looking 5 inch behemoths called smartphones.

Facebook and whatsapp are no more just some apps, they are now the bare necessities of our lives.

Having said that, India still has the slowest average internet speed in Asia and internet is still a myth outside metros. Somewhere the networks are not available while at other places, there is no concrete knowledge about its proper usage.

The truth is, while the world has gone on to use 5G and above, we are mostly stuck with 2G and 3G.

Though 4G by airtel is a good move, and vodafone and idea are doing good too, they have been mostly ignored by masses because of their high data charges. India, remains and will remain a rate driven country. We only like to utilize the luxuries that are affordable. We are ready to compromise speed if it burns our pockets.

That brings this discussion to Reliance 4G, that they have named Reliance Jio or simply ‘Jio’.

From outside, it looks like a competition to airtel 4G, vodafone and idea. Maybe it is. But if done right, Jio can be a lot more, a milestone in Indian Internet industry.

A lot can be foreseen by the giant vision that Mukesh Ambani led Jio has.

“Jio would start services with 70% coverage of India from Day 1,” and would cover over 90% of the population by 2017, Ambani added. Jio has 4G airwaves in all 22 service areas. Jio would also ensure its 4G services are affordable to the consumer. “Jio will significantly up the quantity, quality and coverage for broadband Internet while lowering the cost to the user,

Ambani previously claimed that Jio would offer data and voice services at half or less than half the current market rates. The offerings, he had said, would include instant messaging, live TV, movies-on-demand, news, streaming music and a digital payments platform.

This in itself makes Jio a market leader. Also, with the muscle and money of World’s richest Indian and the faces like Shah Rukh Khan on its poster, Jio is sure to make the eyes turn.

Even though, there is no concrete date for the launch, Jio has rolled out services for its 120,000 employees and partners late December last year. Ambani said Jio’s network is “engineered to provide a capacity of 10GB per month to every user,” which is nearly 100 times above current average data consumption of about 0.15 GB a month in India.

 

He added that digitisation is the defining trend of this century, the reason why Jio was conceived. “I have no doubt that with the launch of Jio, India’s position will go up from 150 to among the top 10 of mobile Internet rankings in the world,” Ambani said.

His comments come at a time when Jio’s much-anticipated but delayed 4G services launch is not merely keeping consumers on their toes, but even brokerage houses, who are falling over each other to predict a launch date.

In a March 29 note, a little over a week after one that had pegged a commercial launch in December, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said a soft launch in early April is possible but purely to test if Jio’s 4G network is reliable enough to handle a full-blown commercial rollout expected after 3-6 months.

India Infoline has also estimated a December launch timeline for Jio. In its latest report, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch appeared to be reacting to a Credit Suisse report a day earlier, which had pegged an April soft launch as well and said that Reliance Digital stores in Mumbai were stocked with Jio 4G SIMs, although there was no clarity yet on when actual sales would start.

CS had added that it is not sure if a customer needs to buy a Lyf handset to get the SIM, or if the SIMs will be sold standalone.

What future holds for Jio, only future can tell. But, this is an exciting time for everyone in India. If the vision of Ambani is materialised in true sense, India can surely become an internet super power in coming years.

 

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