Reliance Industries Limited to Raise INR 25,000 Crore for Jio Expansion Plan

June 28, 2017

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has sought permission from shareholders to raise INR 25,000 crore through non-convertible debentures. This is to replace existing high-cost borrowings and to fund the expansion plan of its telecom arm, Reliance Jio.

What are non-convertible debentures?

Non-convertible debentures are unsecured bonds. They cannot be converted into company stock or equity. In comparison to convertible debentures, these types of debentures usually have higher interest rates.

RIL’s fundraising plans

RIL is going to offer subscriptions for unsecured or secured redeemable non-convertible debentures in one or more series with a total nominal value up to INR 25,000 crore on the private placement.

Earlier in the Financial Year (FY) 2015-2016, the company had raised INR 30,000 crore in two parts through a rights issue. In January 2017, the company decided to raise another INR 30,000 crore to invest in Reliance Jio. The fund was raised with a rights issue of optionally convertible preference shares. Till date, RIL has invested almost INR 2 lakh crore in Reliance Jio.

How will Reliance Jio affect the telecom market?

Due to Reliance Jio’s free and low-priced offers, many telecom operators had to cut prices on their voice and data plans to keep at par and not lose market share. With the funds coming in through these debentures, Reliance Jio’s telecom plans are going to get a huge boost. This will make the market more competitive.

Proposals for the 40th Annual General Meeting

The company’s 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to be held on 21st July 2017. As a part of the agenda for this meeting, RIL will take shareholders’ approval on the following:

  • To raise INR 25,000 crore by issuing debentures in order to meet the ongoing capital expenditures as well as general corporate needs.
  • Providing dividends at a rate of INR 11 per equity share of INR 10 each fully paid-up for the FY 2016-2017.
  • Amend an Article of Association to impose a five percent ceiling on equity purchase by non-promoters in Jio Payments Bank Limited till RIL is its promoter, to comply with the terms and conditions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • To reappoint Nita Ambani as a Director in the company.

Also, the company will ask the Board of Directors to decide when the debentures are to be issued, what will be the face value of these debentures, the consideration for the issue, the coupon rate, the mode of payment, redemption period, and utilization of issue proceeds, among others.

Jio Payments Bank Limited

Jio Payments Bank Limited is the payments bank arm of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio. It was issued a license by the RBI to start the payments bank business in the country.

At present, with an equity share of 70 percent, RIL is the promoter of the payment bank. The State Bank of India (SBI) owns the remaining 30 percent share.

Summary

With the help of non-convertible debentures, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is all set to raise INR 25,000 crore to support its subsidiary, Reliance Jio’s expansion plan.

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Jio is Helping 4G Growth and Making India the Largest Mobile Data User

June 22, 2017

Reliance Jio Infocomm is the telecom arm of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) led by Mukesh Ambani. According to experts in the industry, Reliance Jio is driving the growth of 4G in India. In a televised conference, Chairman Mukesh Ambani remarked that India is the top-ranked country in terms of mobile data usage.

How is Jio helping 4G growth?

The Japanese company, Rohm is of the opinion that Reliance Jio is paving the way for India’s 4G growth. According to Daisuke Nakamura, the Managing Director of Rohm, 4G has been introduced into the world a while ago, but because of service providers like Reliance Jio, India has the fastest rate of growth of 4G mobile data.

He is of the opinion that 4G is the best solution for non-urban areas in India to get access to high-speed Internet since broadband is currently only limited to urban cities. To get a 4G connection, 3G and 2G infrastructure just need to be upgraded. He believes that this is more feasible than setting up the broadband infrastructure.

Statistics shared by Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani shared some statistics regarding Reliance Jio and the Indian telecom sector in a conference held in February 2017. Some of these are as follows:

  • India is the leading country in terms of mobile data usage.
  • Reliance Jio users are consuming data in excess of 100 crore GB every month.
  • Users on the Jio network are consuming data that is in excess of 3.3 crore GB per day.
  • Last year, India held the 150th position world over in terms of broadband penetration.
  • Users of Reliance Jio have made video and voice calls of more than 200 crore minutes
  • Reliance Jio subscribers utilize as much data as the United States of America, collectively.
  • Jio users consume around 50 percent more mobile data than China.
  • In a period of mere six months, India has adopted digitization much faster than any other country.
  • Reliance Jio has become the largest mobile video networks world over.

About Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio was launched by Mukesh Ambani on 5th September 2016. The launch was done with introducing the ‘Welcome offer’ that allowed subscribers to use Jio’s 4G services for free for a period of three months. After the expiration of this offer, another one called the ‘Happy New Year Offer’ was introduced that extended these free benefits for another period of three months. In 170 days, Jio gained 100 million customers. According to Mukesh Ambani, this was an unparalleled level of embracing of any technology that has never been seen before.

Mukesh Ambani has shared that Reliance Jio has the most number of 4G base stations in the Indian telecom space. Jio alone has twice the number of 4G base stations than all the other telecom operators combined.

Apart from this, in a couple of years, Reliance Jio is aiming to increase its data capacity to double its current capacity.

Summary

Rohm stated that Reliance Jio is driving the 4G growth in India. Besides, India is now using the highest amount of mobile data in the world, according to Mukesh Ambani.

Reliance Industries and BP to Invest USD 6 Billion in Three Projects

June 16, 2017

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP Plc. (BP) have announced that they are going to invest INR 40,000 crore or USD 6 billion in three projects over a three- to five-year period.

About the project

The project aims to develop discoveries in the deepwater gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin. The first project will be for the R-series (D34). This project is a dry gas development in water that is deeper than 2000 meters. It is around 70 kilometers off shore. The two companies will develop the fields as a subsea tieback to the present riser and control platform off block KG-D6.

It is expected that the project will produce 12 million cubic meters per day. Contracts for the development of the fields will be awarded soon.

The implementation of the other two projects in the KG-D6 block is subject to the necessary regulatory and government approvals. RIL and BP are planning to submit their plans to the government for approval before 2017 ends.

Mukesh Ambani, the Chairperson and Managing Director (MD) of RIL said that the companies have an arbitration pending with the government. He also said that they will follow the normal course of law. He is sure that this will not come in the way of their investment and will have a fair outcome.

All three projects together are expected to bring on-stream about 30 to 35 million cubic meters or one billion cubic feet of gas per day during the years between 2020 and 2022.

RIL and BP partnership

RIL and BP partnership began when BP acquired a 30 percent stake for USD 7.2 billion in 21 gas and oil production-sharing contracts controlled by RIL, in 2011. The companies are also working together to expand their partnership and develop unconventional mobility solutions to address the digitization, electrification, and disruptive mobility trends.

At present, RIL owns 60 percent stake and BP owns 30 percent stake; while Canada-based Niko Resources Limited owns the remaining 10 percent of the KG basin.

Impact on Indian fuel market

The production from this development is expected to reduce India’s import dependence on gas by over 10 percent in 2022. According to Mukesh Ambani, the demand for fuel in India is expected to grow by about five to seven percent every year over the next decade.

Effect of the projects on shares

Most experts feel that the above projects are better for long-term outcomes. According to AK Prabhakar, Head of Research at IDBI Capital, such projects take time to deliver a positive Return on Equity (RoE).

Ambareesh Baliga, an independent market analyst was of the opinion that while RIL’s shares will not shoot up as it has been doing during the market decline in the recent past, the shares of the company may touch INR 1,500 in the next one to two years.

On 15th June 2017, the shares of oil market companies slipped up to 5 percent due to the expectation of fierce competition.

Summary

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP Plc. will invest USD 6 billion in three projects for developing discoveries over a three- to five-year period.

Reliance Jio to Launch New 4G Feature Phones

June 9, 2017

There have been rumors since January that Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is going to release a 4G feature phone in the market, soon.  A recent report by 91mobiles revealed that Reliance Retail, the company that owns the LYF range of phones will be releasing two variants of the new 4G feature phone.

Specifications of the new phones

According to the report, the phones will be 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phones. They will come bundled with a new Reliance Jio 4G SIM card and Jio apps. There will be two variants of the phone. The first is a model with a Qualcomm chip while the second variant has a Spreadtrum chip.

Both phones have an alphanumeric keyboard below a 2.4-inch screen. The phones also have a 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal storage that is expandable with a microSD card, a 2 MP rear camera, and a front Video Graphics Array (VGA) camera. The phones are also said to have Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Global Positioning System (GPS) although nothing yet has been said about the wireless tethering option. Besides, the phones will have dedicated buttons for Jio apps like MyJio, JioCinema, JioTV, and JioMusic.

Price of the new phones

The model with the Qualcomm chip will cost around INR 1,800 or USD 28. The model with Spreadtrum chip will be a little cheaper at around INR 1,740 or USD 27. However, the company is planning to initially offer the phones at a subsidy. It is expected that the cost of the phones will range from INR 999 to INR 1,500 in the initial period.

Why is Jio launching feature phones?

With the 4G-enabled VoLTE feature phones, Reliance Jio is hoping to penetrate the rural market and attract users of low-end phones, who want high-speed internet. The telecom operator, who managed to acquire a customer base of over a 100 million subscribers in the first six months of its launch, has decided to go after the untapped rural segment for its future growth.

India’s mobile market is largely skewered towards feature phones instead of smart phones. As per research conducted by CyberMedia Research (CMR), 59 percent of the entire mobile market in India is dominated by feature phones. Thus, Reliance Jio has moved towards the segment of feature phones.

About 91mobiles and CMR

91mobiles is an online gadget research site. It offers latest news, tools, and reviews to users and helps them find gadgets that best suit their needs.

CMR is a market research, advisory, and consulting company. It is a member of the Market Research Society of India.

About Reliance Jio

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is the telecom subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). During its launch in 2016, Reliance Jio offered customers services for free via its Welcome offer and then its Happy New Year offer. This helped the company to increase its user base to over a 100 million. Post that, it started charging a very low price for its services.

Summary

Reliance Jio is all set to launch two new feature phones to expand its user base.

Mary Meeker Report Highlights the Role of Jio in Driving Indian Internet Growth

June 2, 2017

The 2017 edition of the Mary Meeker Annual Internet Trends Report claims that Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio has played an important part in increasing Internet usage among Indians. With 355 million Internet users, India comes second in the world after China. The report also suggests that this 355 million equals to only 27 percent of population penetration, which means that there is still a lot of scope for increasing the number of Internet users and thus making it a lucrative market.

The report claims that despite Jio’s breakneck rapid growth has slowed down ever since the telecom provider has started charging for its services in 2017, there has been a surge in the Internet usage by Indian consumers. There are two reasons being attributed to this:

  • Firstly, there has been a trend of smart phone prices declining over the years making them more affordable.
  • Secondly, there has been a fall in Internet prices due to the price wars that started when Jio entered the telecom market.

How Jio conquered the market?

According to the Mary Meeker report, the cost of offering a 1 GB data plan per month is approximately INR 123 or around INR 1,482 on an average for 12 months. According to international standards, this cost is below the affordable limit of the Internet.

In September 2016, when Jio launched its services, it offered customers 4 GB data per day for free till December 2016. Post that, Jio rolled out its ‘Happy New Year’ plan, where consumers were offered 1 GB data per day for free. This is what forced other telecom operators to lower their data costs.

In March 2017, Jio announced its Jio Prime plan where consumers had to begin paying for data. However, the average cost per GB of data was still very low at around INR 11 per GB. This was much cheaper than what the other big players in the market were offering.

In February 2017, Jio announced that it had crossed the 100 million subscriber mark and as per figures recently released by the company, 72 million customers have enrolled in Jio’s Prime plan. With this, Jio has cornered around 39 percent of the mobile broadband market in India and 79 percent of the total Internet traffic. Besides, according to Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of the company, every month, Jio subscribers were using 100 crore GB of data during that time.

About Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio Infocomm is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The telecom company is currently headed by Mukesh Ambani. It was launched in September 2016 and has since then witnessed rapid growth.

After conquering the Indian mobile broadband market, Jio is now planning to roll out its fixed line broadband service by Diwali 2017. The company will offer high-speed broadband Internet at attractive prices.

Summary

According to the Mary Meeker Annual Internet Trends Report, Reliance Jio has helped in the significant growth of Indian Internet through its affordable plans and offers.

Reliance Jio Offers Cashback on Purchase of JioFi Device

May 26, 2017

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is working towards bringing high-speed Internet to an affordable price by introducing two separate offers on its JioFi hotspot device.

JioFi device

The JioFi device creates a hotspot by using a Jio 4G SIM, which may be used by multiple devices to access the Internet. Up to ten devices are recommended to be connected to the hotspot device. These include phones, laptops, and tablets, among others.

By installing the Jio4GVoice application on their 2G or 3G smart phones, users may also make free calls, send messages, and make HD video calls.

According to Reliance Jio, the JioFi device offers download speed up to 150 Mbps and upload speed up to 50 Mbps. The device is powered by a 2300 mAh battery that functions for five to six hours on a single charge.

The JioFi device is available on the official website of Reliance Jio. It costs INR 1,999. One may also purchase it using the EMI option, which begins at INR 95.03.

Offers on JioFi devices 

The first offer by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio provides a 100 percent cashback on purchase of the JioFi device. To be eligible for this offer, the user must exchange his old dongle. On doing so, the user will get free 4G data worth INR 2,010. This data will be made available in the form of ten top ups of INR 201 each offering 5 GB data each.

The second offer is for those who do not have a dongle to exchange. The purchaser is offered benefits worth INR 1,005 in the form of five data top ups of 5 GB data each, priced at INR 201 each. Considering this cashback, the effective cost of JioFi device comes up to INR 994.

Thus, anyone who purchases the JioFi device is eligible to get a cashback in the form of data top ups. These data top ups will expire on 31st March 2018.

Procedure to avail of the offers 

To avail of the JioFi device offers, users should do the following:

  • Purchase the JioFi device online from the official Reliance Jio website.
  • After purchasing the device, visit any Reliance Digital or Reliance Jio store with the original receipt and with or without an old dongle.
  • To access the Internet, the user will need a Jio SIM. To get the SIM, the user needs to submit original and copies of a proof of identity, a proof of address, and a passport size photograph. If eKYC has already been done, then only Aadhaar card will be required.
  • The new customer is then advised to become a Jio Prime member by paying INR 99 and make a recharge by choosing between the INR 309 and INR 509 plans. This will enable the user to avail of the Dhan Dhana Dhan offer.
  • After the Dhan Dhana Dhan offer has ended, users must recharge their SIM with a minimum of INR 149 to continue using the services.
  • Post this, the subscriber will be able to enjoy the benefits of the free data top ups.

Summary

Reliance Jio has introduced two separate cashback offers for customers purchasing its hotspot device, JioFi.

Reliance Foundation to Give Young Storytellers a Digital Platform

May 23, 2017

Nita Ambani, the Co-chair of the Jio MAMI Film Festival and the Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, recently announced that the festival will have a new category of award – Award for Excellence in Digital Content from the current year.

About the Award for Excellence in Digital Content

The Award for Excellence in Digital Content is meant to create a platform for youngsters to showcase their storytelling talents through short films on a digital medium. Nita Ambani said that through this award, she hopes to encourage young talents and help in taking Indian cinema to greater heights.

The only criterion for applying for this award is that the participant should be between the ages of 21 years and 35 years. Participants will have to submit their entries in the form of a synopsis and a one-liner script at www.jiomamistudios.com by 20th June 2017. All participants who have registered will get to attend an online Masterclass (Webinar).

From these participants, 25 will be shortlisted. The shortlisted ones will then be mentored by Indian filmmakers in a two-day all-expenses paid residential Masterclass in Mumbai. This Masterclass is meant to take the participants from script to screen. They will be mentored for script development, supported for finances, and helped for exhibition and distribution.

The top ten out of these will be chosen as finalists for the award. They will receive a prize money of INR 2.5 lakh each on completion of their respective films. These films will premiere on Jio. They will also be showcased at this year’s Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. The best film from these ten will receive the Jio MAMI Reliance Foundation Gold trophy while the second best film will receive the Jio MAMI Reliance Foundation Silver trophy at the festival’s closing gala.

Reliance Jio’s contribution

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio which was launched in September 2016, offered Internet at 4G speeds, first for free and later at a nominal amount. This boosted spreading of information and growth of digital content across the country.

To give exposure to the top ten filmmakers and their films, Jio will be promoting them by releasing the films on its online platform. This means that Jio’s huge customer base will be able to watch these films.

Growth of Indian digital media segment

The Indian digital media segment has been growing in leaps and bounds. It has given rise to the content being created across varied formats and genres. The number of people who consume this content is also expected to increase in the coming years. Smart phones, high Internet speeds, and enhanced connectivity have also contributed to the rise of this segment.

About Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is run by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image, popularly known as MAMI. The festival is held in Mumbai. It offers the best of Indian and World cinema, which includes movies from Bollywood, Hollywood, and other international cult movies as well.

Summary

Through its Award for Excellence in Digital Content that will be introduced at the upcoming Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, Reliance Foundation is all set to provide a digital platform to young storytellers for showcasing their films.

Jio to Gain Market Share from Incumbent Telecom Operators

May 16, 2017

As per a report by India Ratings and Research, a rating agency, existing telecom operators are about to lose a part of their market share to Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio.

Current status of the Indian telecom industry

According to India Ratings and Research, the top players in the Indian telecom sector will continue to lose revenues and suffer from profitability due to Reliance Jio’s strategies. At the same time, a number of them will also face an increase in their debts owing to the capital spent on network and spectrum.

The agency revised its outlook on the telecom services sector to negative. It was previously stable. This is because the credit profiles of existing telecom operators deteriorated more than expected due to Reliance Jio’s free offerings and deals.

Future of data tariffs and revenues

According to India Ratings and Research, data tariffs are likely to decrease in the current financial year. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is also expected to decline despite the rise in data usage volume. Moreover, the agency claimed that data usage will increase by 35 percent to 40 percent to reach 1,250 MB in the current financial year.

India Ratings and Research expects data to have 30 percent share in the revenue of the telecom sector in the current financial year while the revenues will see an increase of about 15 percent to 20 percent. Despite a high increase in the volume of data, revenue will not have an equivalent increase. Besides, data realization may decrease by 20 percent to 30 percent.

Reason for increase in data usage

The Indian arm of the global rating agency, Fitch Ratings claimed that the reasons for the increase in data usage in India are:

  • Reliance Jio’s data-centric strategy
  • Wide availability of cheaper smartphones
  • Quick adoption of 4G

Market competition

According to CRISIL, another rating agency, due to the intense competition stimulated by the launch of Reliance Jio, telecom companies will continue to face difficulties in this financial year.

India Ratings and Research further stated that due to this competition, it is highly likely that there will be in total only four telecom companies in India. Smaller telecom operators will be acquired by the larger ones and the larger telecom companies will collaborate subject to spectrum and market share limits under the ‘Telecom Merger and Acquisition Regulations.’

About Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio is the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). With more than 110 crore GB of data traffic per month, Jio became the largest global network. It also registered 220 crore video and voice minutes per day, during the financial year 2016-2017.

As compared to other telecom service providers, Reliance Jio network recorded the highest average 4G data speed in March 2017. This was recorded by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Jio’s average 4G internet speed was 18.487 Mbps as of 12:30 a.m. on 1st April 2017.

Summary

According to a report by India Ratings and Research, Reliance Jio is all set to win a larger market share from existing telecom operators.

Reliance Jio Announces JioFiber and JioFi Offers

May 12, 2017

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is taking steps to bring their Internet services into the arena of home broadband. With the JioFiber Preview Offer, the company is gearing up to launch broadband services in major Indian cities. Besides this, it is also offering discount and cashback on its JioFi devices.

Discount on JioFi3 device

Amazon Great Indian Sale began on 11th May and will end on 14th May. There are a number of discount offers on a variety of products with up to 80 percent off on some of them.

JioFi3 device with MRP INR 2,700 is available on Amazon with a discount of around 30 percent at INR 1,899. Moreover, customers who use a Citibank credit or debit card are eligible for a further cashback of 15 percent on the app or 10 percent on the website.

JioFi is a Wi-Fi hotspot device that lets other devices operate on Jio’s Internet. JioFi comes with a number of benefits. It is recommended to connect the hotspot device with up to ten devices, while it allows connection with up to 32 devices. JioFi has a built-in rechargeable battery, which offers five to six hours of surf time.

Cashback on JioFi devices

Reliance Jio recently announced a cashback offer on the purchase of JioFi device. The telecom company is offering up to 100 percent cashback. On exchanging old dongles, routers, or 4G cards, a user will be eligible to get benefits worth INR 2,010. The benefit is in the form of ten top-up vouchers priced at INR 201 each. If a customer does not opt for the exchange offer, he may still avail of a cashback worth INR 1,005 in the form of five top-up vouchers of INR 201 each. The top-up benefits are valid up to 31st March 2018.

JioFiber service

Reliance Jio’s Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband service, JioFiber was first mentioned by Chairman Mukesh Ambani in the September Annual General Meeting (AGM) while he introduced Reliance Jio. A recent tweet by the company’s customer care service revealed that it is currently running JioFiber service on a trial basis in major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, and Vadodara. It also mentioned that the trials will soon be expanded to more cities.

As per the JioFiber Preview Offer available in selected cities, customers get 100 GB broadband data per month at a speed of 100 Mbps. Apart from a one-time refundable installation fee of INR 4,000 to INR 4,500, the service is free for the first 90 days.

Impact of Reliance Jio

According to some analysts, Reliance Jio’s aggressive pricing policies have intensified competition in the Indian telecom sector, which is forcing existing players to reduce their tariffs. India Ratings and Research, a rating agency in India came to the conclusion that Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is likely to gain market share from existing telecom operators. It said this during the beginning of May 2017.

Summary

Reliance Jio is offering a discount on JioFi3 through Amazon, a 100 percent cashback offer on purchase of JioFi from Jio’s online portal, and free broadband service under the JioFiber Preview Offer for 90 days.

Reliance Jio to Lease Dark Fiber laid under BharatNet Initiative

May 9, 2017

BharatNet is a Centre-State collective project started under the UPA-II government in 2011. The objective was to create a network infrastructure that offers affordable broadband connectivity to all households. Though the project suffered a few setbacks, it once again came to the fore with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.

As per the ongoing talks with the government, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio may become the first telecom operator in the country to lease fiber being deployed under the BharatNet project.

Implementation plan of BharatNet program

BharatNet project’s implementation plan designed earlier was divided into three phases:

  • The first phase was to offer broadband connectivity to one lakh gram panchayats by placing underground optic fiber cable (OFC) lines by March 2017.
  • The second phase planned to supply connectivity to the country’s 2.5 lakh gram panchayats using an efficient combination of underground fiber, radio and satellite media, and fiber over power lines. This was planned to be done by December 2018.
  • The third phase ranging from 2018 to 2023 included the establishment of a robust network.

How Reliance Jio plans to contribute?

BharatNet initiative is to be accomplished through collaboration between the States and the private sector. The project is currently in its first phase with over 2.1 lakh km of optic fiber cable being placed. Out of the total fiber laid under the project, the highest number of active gram panchayats have been achieved in the state of Karnataka with 4,735.

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio is planning to lease dark optic fiber from the government through discussions with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The company is currently analyzing business possibilities available in Haryana and Karnataka to utilize the unused fiber.

Given that the backhaul connectivity in Karnataka and Haryana is already in place, N. Sivasailam, Additional Secretary of DoT, confirmed that Reliance Jio has asked for an opportunity in these states.

N. Sivasailam informed that the price point to lease optic fiber differs according to the state; however, the minimum rests at around INR 2,000 per km. Furthermore, he also revealed that Reliance Jio wishes to take the fiber to mobile towers. The company is conducting a feasibility review of different sites in these two states to determine the best business points, he added.

Suggestions for BharatNet initiative

N. Sivasailam suggested the implementation of optical line terminal (OLT) by telecom service providers at a block level and facilitation of digital connectivity by the DoT to link local businessmen and small enterprises.

A panel consisting of experts from the Information Technology (IT) sector had previously recommended reserving 50 percent pairs of dark fiber at gram panchayats for telecom service providers, local cable operators, multi-system operators, and Internet service providers. This would help secure bandwidth with the means of infrastructure established through government investment.

Summary

Reliance Jio is in talks to become the first telecom operator in the country to lease unused or dark fiber laid by the government under the BharatNet program.