There’s been continuing good news for Indian operator Reliance Jio as profit soars, a deal with Facebook boosts its position in the market and it announces plans to enter the video conferencing app business.
Reporting on income over the January-March period, Reliance Jio Infocomm announced a near tripling of net profit thanks to strong subscriber additions, recent tariff hikes and lower interest costs. There was even a hint from parent company Reliance Industries that another, similar-sized investment to that of Facebook could be on the cards after Facebook agreed to invest in Jio Platforms, a deal expected to be closed by the end of the next quarter.
Jio also expressed optimism that the sale of its towers to Brookfield will be concluded in the current quarter. Separate negotiations are under way for a sale of the company’s optic fibre business.
Jio said profit for the quarter rose to close on $308 million. It is the company’s tenth profitable quarter in a row and more could follow as the tariff increases continue to have an effect on earnings.
The operator ended the quarter with 387.5 million subscribers, a net gain of 17.5 million customers. Data and voice usage also rose, in part because of the recent lockdown, which is no doubt also a reason for the imminent launch of a videoconferencing app called Jio Meet.
Jio Meet will build on fast-growing demand that has seen much greater usage of Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom as Indians work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.
And it’s not just about business meetings. Jio’s eHealth platform integrated with the app will allow users to consult doctors virtually, get prescriptions, order medicines and lab tests online, and enable digital waiting rooms for doctors. An eEducation platform is also expected to be integrated with Jio Meet.