Photo Credit: YouTube/ The Flame of Truth
Jio GigaFiber announcements were made at the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM). The biggest news was of course was the date of the Jio Fiber commercial launch - September 5. The date also marks the third anniversary of the launch of Jio's services. Other announcements included a Jio set-top box, Jio Postpaid Plus plans for Fiber customers, the Jio Fiber Welcome Offer, as well as a partnership with Microsoft.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani revealed that so far, Jio GigaFiber has received 15 million registrations for its Fiber home broadband service, and it is aimed to reach 20 million residences and 15 million business establishments across 1,600 towns - a step up from the 1,100 towns announced last year. Currently, Jio GigaFiber is in 5 lakh homes on a pilot basis. To recall, Jio GigaFiber has been in testing since 2016.
Jio Fiber plans will be priced between Rs. 700 and Rs. 10,000 per month, "meant to suit every budget, every need, and every segment," Ambani said. He also revealed that with Jio Fiber, voice calls from home to any Indian operator (mobile or fixed) will be free "forever". Jio Fiber plans start from 100Mbps, and plans for 1Gbps will be offered soon.
As for fixed line international voice calling, Ambani announced the "lowest fixed line rates for international calling." The default tariffs on the Jio Home phone will be priced from a fifth to a tenth of existing industry tariffs. An unlimited international calling pack for calls to US and Canada was also announced for Rs. 500 per month.
At the Reliance AGM, Ambani also revealed that Jio Fiber plans will come bundled with subscriptions to most leading premium OTT applications, possibly referring to Hotstar Premium and Netflix. As for watching new movies, premium Jio Fiber customers will be able to watch movies the same day they are released. The service is called Jio First-Day-First-Show, which will be launched in the middle of 2020.
Jio Fiber subscribers will also get a mobility service, called Jio Postpaid Plus. Meant to be a "platinum grade service", Jio Postpaid Plus will offer priority SIM set-up service at home, family plans with data sharing, international roaming, and phone upgrades at preferential rates. More details about these tariffs will be available on Jio.com and the MyJio app on September 5.
Also announced was the Jio Fiber Welcome Offer, where Jio Fiber subscribers opting for annual plans (called Jio Forever Plans) will get a HD LED or 4K TV and a 4K set-top box free.
Separately, the Jio Set-Top Box was announced, and it is claimed to be designed to accept TV signals from LCO partners. Also demoed at the event was the use-case applications Jio HoloBoard mixed reality (MR) headset, developed in collaboration with Tesseract.
Ambani also revealed that the Jio GigaFiber IoT (Internet of Things) platform will be commercially available from January 1, 2020. He added that in 2 years, it is estimated there will be 2 billion connected IoT devices in India, and Jio aims to connect over 1 billion IoT devices. The company is looking to get revenue from home, enterprise, and MSME broadband services in India.
Ambani at the Reliance AGM also announced Jio Digital Platform and Solutions, including a partnership with Microsoft. Also announced were blockchain developments, where the company plans to create one of the largest networks with tens of thousands of nodes over the next 12 months with the aim to store Indian data securely within Indian borders.
Edge computing and virtual/ mixed reality content plans were also announced by Ambani at the event, with plans for pan-India edge computing and CDN with tens of thousands of nodes, all to deliver content for entertainment, shopping, gaming, and education.
As for its partnership with Microsoft, Ambani announced cloud infrastructure plans for the country. Jio and Microsoft have entered into a "globally unique long-term alliance to accelerate the digital transformation of India". Jio and Microsoft will set up "world class data centres across India" using the Azure platform. This is aimed to help large and SMBs accelerate their digital transformation.
Ambani had a couple of announcements for startups and SMBs in India as well. Jio will make "connectivity and cloud infrastructure absolutely free for budding startups," Ambani said, and startups can now register for a custom-designed package on Jio.com. This service will be available from January 1, 2020.
As for MSMEs, Ambani said it costs such companies between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 a month for a bundle of connectivity, productivity, and automation tools. These applications along with Jio connectivity will be provided at a tenth of the cost, i.e., starting at Rs. 1,500 per month. MSMEs will get unlimited enterprise grade voice and data services, video conferencing, security solutions, marketing and sales solutions, and Microsoft productivity tools.