Promising up to 80-times faster internet with his ambitious venture Reliance Jio, top industrialist Mukesh Ambani today said his group has invested Rs 1.5 lakh crore in this initiative — the biggest-ever for any digital startup globally.
Ambani also said Jio would target to expand the high-speed internet coverage in the country to over 90 per cent by 2017, but remained silent on the exact commercial launch date of the much-awaited service.
Speaking here at the inaugural session of Ficci Frames 2016, Reliance Industries Chairman said the opportunity to transform lives of 1.3 billion people motivated him to re-enter telecom sector and he believes Jio will drive the country’s ranking in mobile Internet access to among top 10 from 150 currently.
“As the world goes digital, we cannot afford to be left behind. Today, we are ranked 150 in the mobile Internet access rankings among 230 countries… 1.3 billion people cannot be left behind as the world enters a new era,” Ambani said.
Ficci Frames is India’s largest media and entertainment industry’s gathering where the who’s who of the industry and top government officials brainstorm on various issues.
“I have no doubt with the launch of Jio our ranking will go up from 150 to among the top 10 in the next few years.”
Jio is one of the largest transformational green-field digital initiatives anywhere in the world with an investment of over Rs 1.5 trillion,” Ambani said.
The company was planning to commercially launch high-speed 4G network with focus on data services by last December, but later delayed the official launch. The company has not offered an official reason for the delay or the next possible date.
Domestic media and entertainment industry has grown from USD 2 billion in 2004 to USD 18 billion in 2015, and it will be USD 100 billion in the next decade, Ambani said.
“To my mind, digitisation is the defining trend of this century…If you don’t have a globally competitive digital tool you will simply not survive, you will be disrupted, outcompeted, left behind and become irrelevant,” he said.
On how Jio will aid the digital transformation, Ambani said the telecom offering will start services with 70 per cent coverage of the population from day 1, and the services will be very affordable.
“With the efforts that Jio and all partners are making, high-speed internet coverage will be over 90 per cent by 2017,” he said.
Ambani promised quality offering, wherein Jio will offer speeds that are 40-80 times faster than the current Internet speed today. He also said Jio’s network is engineered to provide a capacity of over 10 gigabytes of data per person, which is 100 times the current data consumption average of 0.15 gigabytes a user per annum.
“All of this is of no use if we cannot make it accessible and affordable to all and across the country,” Ambani said.
Outlining five mega trends that define digital future, he said the world is moving from oral to visual medium and that “video will be the new voice of the network industry, driving learning, communication and entertainment”.
Second, Ambani said opportunities will be larger in a digital ecosystem, as technology is exponential compared to human thinking which is linear.
Third, telecom, ICT, and various media sectors are converging and the traffic is no longer linear, and have to be managed and regulated accordingly.
He also said intelligent analytics is the key, as there is going to be an abundance of choice, distribution and content.
“There will, however, be a scarcity of context, and purpose, and those who can address this will win,” he said.
He also pointed out that technology cannot become the end-goal and it is only a means to make human life better.