Reliance Jio Infocomm will cover all of the Gujarat state with its 4G/LTE high-speed telecommunication network by the festival of Diwali in October this year, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Tuesday. In 2014-15, only 35% of the state’s population was covered by the then in use 3G network, which was the predecessor to the current 4G networks, Ambani said at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017.
“Now, more than 90% of Gujarat state is covered by the Jio 4G/LTE network,” he said. Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest business conglomerate launched its much awaited telecommunication venture Reliance Jio Infocomm last year with a whopping Rs 1.5 trillion investments, mainly in building high-speed internet infrastructure over the new 4G/LTE network across the entire country.
Gujarat is the only state where the company garnered more than 50 lakh (5 million) subscribers in just 90 days, Ambani said at the summit. While the users of the service have reported intermittent network loss, the business has received tremendous response mainly because of the very aggressive pricing aimed at acquiring more and more customers in a fast growing market.
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The company already had 16 million subscribers at the end of the first month, and has about 52-55 million users at present. It added over 19 million users in October, far exceeding the largest competing incumbent Bharti Airtel, which added 2.33 million in the same month.
Reliance’s entry into the telecom space has forced the incumbent players to drastically cut tariffs in order to retain their customer base, and has put the entire sector under tremendous pressure of choosing between protecting margins and user base.
In the coming months, Jio will connect lakhs of merchants and shops to create commerce and payment network to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a cashless economy, Ambani said. “We will connect all colleges and schools in Gujarat so that our kids have access to information,” he said, adding, “We will connect all hospitals and medical facilities to create next generation health and medical infrastructure in the state.”
Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which is now in its eighth edition, was started in 2003 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi – then the Chief Minister of the state – to invite large scale business investments. The summit has become a marquee event and is now almost congregation of the top businessmen, investors and political delegates from across the world, in pursuit of finding attractive investment opportunities.