Reliance Jio is widely expected to launch its 4G services sometime between March and April. But a new report suggests that the launch could be deferred to as late as end of this year. The company has already done a soft launch, and all Reliance industries’ staff and their families now have access to Jio’s 4G services. Also Read - How to recharge your Jio number via WhatsAppAlso Read - 5G JioPhone launch could be around Diwali this year, price to be around Rs 3,500
This new timeframe was revealed in a report issued by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Despite completing an employee soft launch in December 2015, we do not yet have visibility on the timeline on commercial launch by Jio. In our recent meetings with industry participants, we found a consistent view coming out of risks of Jio launch being pushed to December 2016.” Also Read - 5G JioPhone, JioBook laptop, Jio 5G rollout and other announcements expected on June 24
Reliance Jio is also said to be ironing out some flaws before the wide roll out, especially in offering the VoLTE services, Business Insider reports. The report also cites another scenario as a possible reason for the apparent delay in the roll out — the RCom-SSTL merger.
While Sistema Shyam Teleservices board members have approved the merger plans, the deal has not yet gone through. Jio is likely to wait for the deal to be completed since it will give the company access to SSTL-backed MTS’ 850MHz bands. RCom is currently awaiting nods from the Rajasthan High Court, Bombay High Court, and DoT, and the entire process is expected to take two to three months.
While Reliance Jio’s roll out is being delayed, its rivals have already rolled out their 4G services. Airtel’s services are available in over 350 cities across India, while Idea and Vodafone are slowly rolling out their services in major cities across the country. By the time Jio finally rolls out its services, its competition would have further expanded their reach.
Reliance Jio got pan-India 4G license for 2300MHz band back in 2010. However, due to the under-developed handset ecosystem and technological limitations, the company hasn t launched its services yet.
Along with 4G services, Reliance Digital has also launched a bunch of 4G services with VoLTE and VoWiFi support under its LYF brand. Jio, on the other hand, has started rolling out pan-India digital services and is also building apps for cloud storage, music and video streaming ahead of the 4G launch. It has also set up public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country and is providing free Wi-Fi at numerous ICC World Cup T20 stadiums.