India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday equated the importance of data to that of the natural resources. “We are at the beginning of an era where data is the new oil,” he said at an industry event.
Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, which in turn control Reliance Jio Infocomm, said that India has the potential to be among the top 10 players in terms of broadband access.
Reliance Jio’s entry into the telecom space has forced the incumbent players to drastically cut tariffs – as much as by 66% – in order to retain their customer base, and has put the entire sector under tremendous pressure of choosing between protecting margins and user base. Reliance Jio recently extended its inaugural free voice and data plan till March 31 drawing complaints and criticisms from its biggest rivals Airtel and Vodafone, who assert that its anti-competitive practices and freebies are hurting the industry.
Vodafone – India’s second largest operator – and Idea – the third largest – are in discussions to merge their operations in an effort to gain the required scale to take on the heightened competition from Reliance Jio.
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Mukesh Ambani at Nasscom India Leadership Forum: Jio Will Push India Into Top 10 Countries By Broadband Access pic.twitter.com/zU1LKQNLFT
— BTVI Live (@BTVI) February 15, 2017
Mukesh Ambani further said that Aadhaar – the unique identity provided to individuals by the government – had enabled the company to acquire a million customers a day. “Individual identity in terms of Aadhaar serves us in multipurpose ways,” Ambani said.
Reliance Industries, India’s largest business conglomerate, launched its much awaited telecommunication venture Reliance Jio Infocomm last year with a whopping Rs 1.5 trillion investments to start with, mainly in building high-speed internet infrastructure over the new 4G/LTE network across the entire country. It topped it up with an announcement of a further investment of Rs 30,000 crore in December.
Reliance Jio had earlier last month said that it has been adding 600,000 new users per day had already added 72.4 million customers as on December 31 on its network since launch in a hyper competitive market.
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Ambani said that the Indian economy does not have access to next level digital infrastructure yet, adding that mobile computing is the defining technology of the century.
He further said election of Donald Trump as the new President of the United States is a blessing in disguise for India, as it will lead to Indian information technology companies focus on the domestic problems. “Indians are at the bleeding end of the technology,” Ambani said.
Donald Trump has made it difficult for overseas firms to do business in the United States with stringent visa policies, making it more expensive for Indian companies to send techies to the United States to work alongside the client.