India’s newest mobile provider, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) announced that it had signed up more than 50 million subscribers by 1 December, adding an average of 600,000 new users per day. In a press release, the cellco said that it had added 52 million users in just 83 days, which it claims is the fastest rate of take-up for any technology company. Helping its rapid take up the operator said, was its adoption of the Electronically Know Your Customer (eKYC) biometric verification system, which uses the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI’s) Aadhaar to activate SIM cards within five minutes. The system has so far been rolled out to 200,000 of RJIL’s outlets, and the operator is planning to double that number to 400,000 by March 2017.
RJIL also announced that its disruptive ‘Welcome Offer’, which allows customers free unlimited voice and data services until 31 December 2016, will effectively be extended until the end of March 2017. The operator introduced a ‘Happy New Year Offer’, under which customers that sign up to an RJIL plan by 4 March 2017 will have access to free unlimited services until 31 March 2017. Subscribers already benefiting from the Welcome Offer will be automatically signed up to the New Year Offer. RJIL had previously threatened to extend the free offer to strike back at the market’s leading incumbents, over a dispute around points of interconnection (PoI). RJIL’s chairman Mukesh Ambani claimed that ‘anti-competitive behaviour’ from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had led to nearly 9.0 billion calls from its network being dropped.