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Fixed and mobile competition hots up in India

Fixed and mobile competition hots up in India

The Reliance Jio brand seems to be busier than ever in India – and not just in mobile communications.

The advance of Reliance Jio in the vast Indian market continues. Vodafone Idea’s market-leading mobile subscriber numbers came down to 409.3 million at the end of February, and Indian news outlets are reporting that Jio is now in second place with a customer base of 306 million. Airtel’s subscriber figure is said to be 284 million.

That’s not bad for a company that has been in the market for less than three years, although the price war Jio initiated may have helped. According to a report by JP Morgan, Jio added 27 million new customers between January and March 2019. At this rate it could even lead the market in a year or two.

Fixed line communication is clearly not being overlooked either. Reliance Jio GigaFiber is set to offer a combined broadband-landline-TV service at Rs 600 ($8.60) a month, along with a number of reasonably priced extras.

GigaFiber is being piloted in Delhi and Mumbai, where 100 GB of data is free (though the router has to be paid for). Telephone and TV services are not expected to be part of the package until the service is launched commercially in a few months. Some 1,600 cities are being targeted for roll-out.  Alongside Reliance Industries’ e-commerce plans, reported here recently, it looks like Reliance Industries’ drive to gain a strong share of multiple markets is far from over yet.

Meanwhile, Japan's Softbank is said to be looking at making a $2-3 billion investment in Reliance Jio, and Saudi Aramco is reportedly considering buying a stake in Reliance Industries' refining and petrochemical business. For now, however, both potential investors’ precise plans remain unconfirmed.

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