After Reliance Jio's initial plans to launch 4G services across India in April this year, the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance industries might have a setback. The commercial rollout of high-speed mobile broadband service is expected in December 2016, due to some technical difficulties that needs the company's attention, U.S. based brokerage firm Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) said.
Reliance Jio commenced employee-only rollout of 4G services in December last year, putting more than 1 lakh people on its high-speed mobile broadband network. Following the internal launch, Mukesh Ambani in February said that the company would start rolling out its services in the second half of 2016.
"Despite completing an employee soft launch in December 2015, we do not yet have visibility on the timeline on commercial launch by Jio," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a recent report filing Monday, March 21, according to a DNA report. "In our recent meetings with industry participants, we found a consistent view coming out of risks of Jio launch being pushed to December 2016."
International Business Times India reached out to Reliance Jio for a comment and a company spokesperson said Reliance Jio does not comment on rumours and speculations.
The company is working towards fixing various "blind spots" in its 4G network to ensure an uninterrupted national rollout, Phone Radar reported, adding that the company might be looking at a phased launch of 4G services starting June, so it can identify and resolve any challenges in the process. And by the end of this year, a full-fledged launch will take place after all issues have been resolved in the 850MHz band, which is proved to offer more consistent coverage than 1800MHz or 2300MHz.
On the lines of a phased rollout, RTN Asia reported Thursday that a Twitter user, who is likely a Reliance Jio employee or at least someone with sound knowledge of the matter, revealed that Relaince Jio would launch its 4G services this Sunday. But the user JP Singh appeared to have issued a correction Saturday saying the Jio 4G services would launch by April, which was also reported by other Twitter users.
There are also reports that the Customer Acquisition Forms, Prepaid SIMs and handsets with special retailer apps are headed to Reliance retailers and distributors across the country, RTN Asia reported. The initial rollout is expected in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi and also in states like Kerala.
Reliance Jio is targeting 100 subscribers within 100 days of launch and about 131 million customers by the end-2019-20, Morgan Stanley, a US-based brokerage firm, had said earlier this year. The firm added that Reliance Jio could earn $1.7 billion in revenue by the end of 2016-17 if the commercial rollout of 4G services began in April. The company's annual revenue is expected to rise to $6.69 billion (Rs 45,492 crore) by March 2020. The new service's launch in India would significantly challenge top telecom operators, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India.