Reliance Jio Infocomm chairman Mukesh Ambani has confirmed that the operator will launch commercial services in December 2015 after an “extensive beta launch”.
Ambani outlined the operator’s plans in detail at its parent company’s AGM, saying: “All the key components of the Jio broadband network are now operational. As we speak, we have an end-to-end initial capacity to serve in excess of 100 million wireless broadband customers and 20 million fibre-to-home customers, with capabilities to easily expand further as the business scales up”.
He went on to explain: “We are currently in the pre-launch testing and stabilisation phase of this large and complex network. Over the next few months, we will initiate an extensive beta launch, involving millions of friendly customers across all our markets. The beta programme will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year.”
The operator is in good stead following its acquisition of a pan-India unified licence – an advantage which is bolstered by the fact that it holds BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum in all of India’s 22 telecoms circles. It is the only private company to hold this distinction.
Ambani noted “Jio is now present in all 29 states of India, with a direct physical presence in 18,000 cities and towns of our nation. Jio’s wireless presence extends even further, and covers 100,000 villages. We are expanding this footprint to cover nearly 80 per cent of India’s population by the end of this year.”
It has long been unclear exactly when the operator planned to launch services, and previous reports had indicated that Reliance Jio could incur punitive measures if it had not commenced its offering before the end of June. Ambani provided further clarity on Jio’s expansion plans, stating “our roadmap is to have 100 per cent national coverage within the next three years.”
He went on to explain that education was of key importance for the operator: “In rural areas, we are prioritising connectivity to thousands of schools. This is to ensure that the benefits of our broadband initiative is first and foremost felt by the young students who stand to gain the most by accessing the information superhighway.”
Ambani concluded: “Jio’s true success will be measured by a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, stepping-up to leverage the digital assets that Jio has built. In that sense, what Jio is building is a powerful platform on which a range of rich digital services can be enabled – it does not matter if these services are created by Jio itself, its ecosystem partners, or anyone globally.”