Disruptive wireless provider Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) will begin offering its long-awaited home broadband service on 5 September 2019 – the third anniversary of its mobile launch – the company’s chairman Mukesh Ambani confirmed yesterday. The Economic Times quotes the official as saying at the group’s AGM that the JioFiber service would offer a range of simple tariff plans, with download speeds of between 100Mbps and 1Gbps and prices of between INR700 and INR10,000 (USD9.8 and USD140.4) per month. The plans would also come bundled with subscriptions to certain over-the-top (OTT) applications, though it was not confirmed which services would initially be included. Jio began pre-registering customers for the service in August last year to help prioritise areas for rollout and the operator claims to have had 15 million registrations across ‘nearly 1,600’ towns over the subsequent year. Based on these registrations, the company created a deployment plan that would connect 20 million residences and 15 million businesses in the 1,600 towns, and according to Mr Ambani, the rollout is expected to be completed within the next twelve months. Alongside broadband services, Jio’s set-top box has been designed to accept cable TV signals from the operator’s local cable operator (LCO) partners: in Q4 last year, Reliance acquired controlling stakes in cable operator groups Hathway Cable and Datacom (Hathway), Den Networks (DEN), and GTPL Hathway, which Jio claims have direct relationships with ‘over 30,000 LCOs’. As part of an initial welcome offer, meanwhile, Jio will also provide a free HD or 4K LED TV to subscribers to its annual ‘Jio Forever’ plans.
The home broadband launch is one of four ‘engines of connectivity revenue’ for Jio, the other three being nationwide IoT, enterprise broadband and broadband for small and medium businesses. Jio’s IoT services will use its nationwide 4G network infrastructure, and the platform is scheduled to become commercially available on 1 January 2020. Jio is projecting that India’s IoT market will comprise two billion connected devices within the next two years and the telco is aiming to connect around half of that number. If this target is achieved, it would translate into additional revenue of INR200 billion per year, the company claimed.