Reliance Jio may begin the commercial roll out of its 4G LTE services in the country by September this year. At the moment, Reliance Jio is offering its services to select group of users and those who buy Reliance Digital’s LYF branded smartphones. The company has almost completed testing its services and the launch is ‘imminent’ in the next two-three months, Mint reports. BGR India has reached out to Reliance Jio for confirmation.
Reliance Jio had started testing its 4G LTE services with its employees in December last year. Earlier this year, it opened an invite system, where Reliance employees could invite up to 10 people who could get a Reliance Jio connection if they bought a LYF smartphone. These users were initially given three months of free usage of all Reliance Jio services including calls, data and text message along with other services like video on demand, live streaming of TV channels, music and even cloud storage. The free trial period has now been extended till November. Now Reliance Jio has lifted the invite restriction and anyone who buys a LYF handset can get a Reliance Jio connection for free.
The move has paid dividends for Reliance Jio, which has not only enabled it to do a large scale crowd sourced testing of its network before its commercial launch but also ensured that its inventory of LYF smartphones are sold, while the commercial launch of the network is getting delayed. Reliance Digital had shipped LYF smartphones in large quantities anticipating the commercial launch of the 4G LTE network. LYF had become the fourth largest smartphone vendor in India in the first quarter of 2016 according to IDC.
According to reports, Reliance Jio has already gained big grounds in terms of coverage even before a commercial roll out. The operator has reached sixth position in India in terms of data usage with 13 million GB while Airtel led the market with 45 million GB data usage. After the commercial roll out, the gap between Airtel and Reliance Jio is likely to be much lesser.
Industry experts are upbeat on the adoption of 4G services in India, especially driven by Reliance Jio, which owns pan-India 4G licence. “We expect R-Jio to be a formidable player and garner 10-12% revenue market share over the next three to four years with 100-120 million subscribers at an ARPU (average revenue per user) of Rs.250-300 per month. However, given the heavy upfront investment, return ratios could be sub-optimal in the near-to-medium term, in line with the incumbents,” IDFC had said in its recent report.