Billionaire Mukesh Ambani extended free services being offered by his Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. unit, saying the company was working to iron out voice- and data-quality problems to help lure customers from rivals.
Jio services debuted on September 5 and were initially meant to be free until December. Ambani announced Thursday that, starting December 4, every customer would get a full bouquet of Jio services free until March 31. The company had in September announced tariff plans of as low as Rs. 149 ($2.18) a month for data and free mobile phone calls and roaming across India.
Competitors including Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Group Plc.’s unlisted Indian unit have also cut tariffs in response by as much as 67 percent and added fourth-generation, or 4G, services in an effort to prevent customer defections. Vodafone said earlier this month that it will write down the value of its unit in India by 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion), and that it won’t proceed with a long-planned initial public offering of the business until at least the end of March.
Users of Reliance Jio are entitled to free calls and data till the end of March, Mukesh Ambani announced today. Here is your 10-point guide to what India’s richest man declared as Jio’s ”Happy New Year Offer”:
The everything-for-free offer was originally introduced in September and was to last till the end of the year. It has now been extended for three months. This means that anyone who signs up starting Sunday will not pay for voice or data services.
Those who subscribed earlier - existing Jio customers - will automatically get the three-month extension for free benefits.
There’s one major difference though. The amount of top-speed data that a customer can use without any cost is now limited to 1GB of data a day. The earlier limit was 4GB per day, after which the speed was throttled for the customer in question.
Jio is india’s only entirely 4G network - others use a mix of 4G, and 3G for data, plus 2G for voice calls. Jio uses 4G for voice as well as data.
Mr Ambani said that while 80 percent of Jio subscribers use under 1GB of data a day, the rest burn through disproportionately high amounts, congesting the network for others. This is why the new limit has been introduced as Fair Usage Policy (FUP).
Mr Ambani said Jio has already crossed 50 million customers in the three months since it launched on September 1. He said this makes Jio faster-growing in India than either Facebook or WhatsApp.
Jio user get free calls for life. No roaming charges apply within India either. Data prices, once they kick in, are among the cheapest in the world at Rs 50 per GB. Till Jio disrupted the market, its competitors priced data at nearly five times that.
Reliance has invested over 20 billion dollars in its telecom venture and Mr Ambani had earlier said Jio expects to accrue 100 million customers in "the shortest possible time."
Mr Ambani has also announced a rollout of Jio Money Merchant Solutions, a mobile payments application, for enabling digital payments for small merchants at their various point of transactions.
For now, Jio Cinema, Music, and other apps will remain available at no charge.