There is a lot of buzz around Reliance Jio services, but the company has been mum on its commercial roll-out in India. While the company is facing resistance from the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COIA), which comprises leading cellular operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea, Videocon and Telenor, Reliance is making sure the Jio network is elite before its commercial release.
Reliance annual general meeting (AGM), where company's chairman Mukesh Ambani traditionally lays out clear road-maps for various projects, will be held on Sept. 1. During the conference, Ambani will deliver his annual speech to his shareholders and Jio will be the star topic of the meeting.
Currently, Reliance is offering its Jio high-speed internet services to select handsets free of cost for 90 days. But details of the tariffs after three months are a complete mystery. But Jio is expected to be a true disruptor in the India's telecom industry. The data costs will be at least 40 percent cheaper than the current standards put out by the likes of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. This will indeed strike a new price war among carriers.
Since there are a lot of customers waiting to hear about Reliance's commercial launch of Jio in India and its tariffs, Ambani will finally give us a date or at least a narrow time-line for its plans for this year. This should calm RIL investors as well.
Reliance is battling with the COIA for interconnect points, but the organisation is refusing to release them. Reliance is testing its call connectivity across India, even though it has gained supremacy in speeds and coverage, but users have complained about connecting voice calls to third-party carriers. The interconnect points are released to a carrier only after the commercial roll-out of a new service, which allows sharing of network towers to maintain a stable inter-carrier call connectivity across India.
Reliance is demanding that the COIA release the interconnect points, so it can test the overall service before commercially launching it across India. While these discussions continue to take place at the back-end, Reliance has been rapidly expanding the testing of its Jio 4G network to several smartphone brands such as Samsung, LG, Asus, Micromax and others. Soon, the hyped Jio Preview Offer will be available on all 4G-enabled handsets.
The increasing demand for Jio's preview offer is creating chaos and customers are lining up outside Reliance stores to get their Jio SIM. Customers are also complaining about the activation of the Jio SIM, which is currently taking 3-5 days, which is longer than the standard timeframe.
The 42nd RIL annual general meeting will commence at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Birla Matushri Sabhagar, Mumbai. Stay tuned.