Reliance Jio Infocomm to offer Voice Services

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only pan-India licence holder of 4G services has confirmed that it will be offering voice calls in addition to high speed data. The Mukesh Ambani owned Telecom Company has set its sights on becoming the number one player in the Indian telecom market. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) CFO, AlokAgarwal told reuters, “We will definitely be offering voice the fact that we have submitted the application for participating in the forthcoming 2G and 3G spectrum auctions makes it clear that we are going to enter the voice space.”

At the same time, Agarwal refused to divulge more information on the company’s CAPEX plans, tariff, launch time-line, etc.

Reliance is looking to enter the Indian voice space after a gap of many years. The company was a pioneer in low-cost mobile rates when it launched a CDMA service under the Reliance India Mobile brand.

Reliance Jio in the second week of January applied for participation in the spectrum auctions for the 900/1800MHz bands, slated for early February. The government has put 16 blocks of 900MHz spectrum for auction each in Delhi and Mumbai and 14 blocks in Kolkata. Earlier this month, Reliance Jio had told PTI it would be offering 10-12 times faster 4G wireless service compared to 3G networks.

Commenting on the same, a Reliance Jio official was quoted as saying, “We are practically achieving a speed of 49Mbps downlink (download) and uplink is between 8-9Mbps.Theoretically, the present set up that we have, can achieve speed of 112Mbps downlink.”

Reliance Jio acquired a pan-India 4G license in the 2010 spectrum auctions. The company is running trial of products, including phone and TV services that it plans to provide through 4G network. It will provide outdoor customer premise equipment (CPE) that will connect to its mobile towers. The company also plans to enter the TV market. RJIL has 150 channels already on board and these can be seen across a range of devices viz., mobile phones to TV. This is expected to bring a windfall of revenues as the domestic TV market had 9.6 crores subscribers up to December 2013, followed by DTH with 5.45 crores.

A RJIL official in the know-how of the strategic plans of the company said, “We have almost all leading TV channels across all genres from leading houses – Sony, Zee, TV18, Star and others. This is trial phase and we will add more channels as we get ready for commercial launch.”

When India’s largest Private Sector Company entered the spectrum auction arena, it had quite an impact among existing players whose stock price took a hit. This was because of fears that they will have to shell out much more money due to rising competition, leading to widening of already high debt levels.

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