Reliance Jio may launch services by September: officials

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Mumbai: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the telecom unit of India’s second most valuable company, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), may launch commercial operations by September, according to two RIL officials familiar with the development.

Reliance Jio’s services were made available to employees and their families and friends last December. This May, Jio extended its services to the public through an employee-driven invite system where an invite from an RIL employee can bring others into the Jio users fold, allowing them to buy a Lyf phone and experience free unlimited 4G data and voice for three months.

Jio.com, the official website of Reliance Jio, went live on 2 June.

Through the website, users in general can request or register for an invite to join Jio’s beta launch. The website lists various services and apps that are being offered by the firm, including JioChat, JioJoin, MyJio, JioBeats, JioOnDemand, JioXpressNews, JioMoney and JioDrive.

A Jio spokesperson declined to comment on the development.

The company has covered more ground in terms of testing its services and the launch is expected in the next two to three months, said one of the people cited earlier, both of whom declined to be identified.

According to a report by news agency IANS, the Jio 4G service has 700,000 users and their total usage put together was 13 million gigabytes (GB) for six months, which translates into 18.57GB per user, according to internal data. A presentation made by RIL at the Morgan Stanley investor summit on 1 June had put the number of Jio users at 500,000 as of April.

The presentation said the average monthly consumption per user is in excess of 18GB within the first month of service and is increasing rapidly. Average voice usage is over 250 minutes within the first month, the presentation added.

“We expect R-Jio to be a formidable player and garner 10-12% revenue market share over the next three to four years with 100-120 million subscribers at an ARPU (average revenue per user) of Rs.250-300 per month. However, given the heavy upfront investment, return ratios could be sub-optimal in the near-to-medium term, in line with the incumbents,” IDFC Securities Ltd, a domestic brokerage, said in a 1 June report.

In terms of sales of Lyf phones, it has become the fourth largest in the country, said another RIL official, who also declined to be named. He, however, declined to share sales numbers.

So far, Jio has tied up with 113,000 retail outlets to sell its Lyf devices. “Most of the retail chains are selling our products and the run rate at which we are going is very satisfying,” the official added. Jio has tied up with Sangeetha Mobiles, Big C Mobiles, Poorvika Mobiles and Lot Mobiles to sell Lyf devices.

While the company has not given a date for the launch of full commercial operations, a 25 April report from Morgan Stanley had predicted a launch in three to nine months. Jio is expected to have at least 30 million subscribers by the end of this fiscal year with a revenue of over $1 billion, said the report.