Reliance Jio
Reliance Jio is launching JioFiber next monthIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Reliance Jio's entry in India has brought overwhelming joy to consumers. It's about to get more exciting as the telco start-up is going to launch its long-rumored JioFiber high-speed optic fiber broadband service in India with an offer you'll be unable to refuse.

Remember the Jio 4G rollout in late-2016, when the telco offered six months of free 4G data and voice calling services and then changed the face of the entire telecom industry by challenging incumbents with aggressively priced offers on voice and data bundles? Well, it's time for a rerun.

JioFiber FTTH is finally coming, with free offers, of course!

Brace yourselves as the Mukesh Ambani-led telecommunications and technology start-up officially launches its high-speed broadband service in India with speeds of up to 1Gbps next month. What's more exciting is that the company will launch the JioFiber preview offer to give early customers 100GB per month at 100Mbps broadband free for 3 months, TelecomTalk reported.

Taking cues from the success of the Jio 4G telecom service, the company might take up a similar strategy in its broadband foray. The initial free offerings should give the company a massive user base. Once the free period is over, Reliance Jio might extend the free offer (if the legal bodies do not pose roadblocks), but it is certain that the pricing of the fixed broadband service will be aggressive.

When I tried out JioFiber at RIL HQ

During the Reliance Jio India Digital Open Summit 2018 last month, I had the chance to check out Jio's upcoming JioFiber broadband. In a nutshell, the incredibly fast speed, powering the company's entire HQ, can certainly bring a nation of billion-plus people towards digitalization sooner. In a demo setup of Jio's fiber broadband, I witnessed 44 devices connected to a single network powered by JioFiber. And all of those devices worked effortlessly fast. 

With the commercial launch of JioFiber or GigaFiber (as I heard some reps call it), the company will provide its own router. Jio had also displayed tiny walkie-talkie like devices called Jio Small Cells to help with boosting Wi-Fi signals across the house. The Jio GigaFiber powered Jio set top box, PS4 enabled with buffer-free VR streaming, IoT devices, motion sensors, CCTV cameras, and much more.

How much will JioFiber cost?

If the leaked plans are anywhere close to being true, JioFiber subscribers might end up paying Rs 500 for 600GB data and Rs 2,000 for 1,000GB at 100Mbps per month. That's going to send down a massive wave of disruption in the broadband sector, which is led by incumbents like Airtel, ACT Fiber, BSNL, and MTNL.

Act Fibernet 1Gbps broadband launch
At the Act Fibernet 1Gbps broadband launch in Bengaluru [Left to right – Mr. Bala Malladi, CEO, Atria Convergence Technologies Pvt Ltd, Mr.Sunder Raju, Founder & Managing Director Atria Convergence Technologies and Shri. Priyank Kharge Minister of IT, Biotechnology, Science & Technology and Tourism, Government of Karnataka]ACT

But there's no evidence that these monthly JioFiber plans are real. They seem too good to be true. But with Jio, anything is possible. According to a previous report, leaks had revealed tariffs of JioFiber broadband starting at Rs 1,500 per month.

In addition to that, the report had highlighted a one-time cost of Rs 4,500 towards the installation of compatible equipment, which will be refunded after the free trial period ends if the customer chooses to discontinue services. Those who are keen to be a part of the JioFiber preview offer must stay in touch with Reliance stores as registrations will take place there.

JioFiber vs others

In comparison to JioFiber's rumored tariffs, ACT's official GIGA broadband offers plans starting at Rs 5,999 per month with 1Gbps speed, FUP of 1,250GB and 1Mbps post FUP. The broadband provider also introduced six-month and annual plans at Rs 35,994 and Rs 71,998, respectively. The service is currently available in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Other rivals that Jio will be facing with its JioFiber rollout include Airtel and BSNL. At the prospect of Jio launching its low-cost fiber broadband in India, existing providers have started making preparations well in advance.

Last year, Airtel started offering 1,000GB free data for its broadband customers as a part of its BigByte offer. Prior to that, Airtel offered 1,000GB data for its V-Fiber customers for one year free of cost.

Reliance Jio
Reliance Jio fiber broadband launch is nearer than ever!REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

JioFiber – a long-overdue plan

Reliance Jio's FTTH broadband rollout has been long overdue. RIL Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani addressed the progress of JioFiber during the company's 40th annual general meeting (AGM) last July.

"Creating fixed-line high-speed broadband services is the next leap forward for our country. Jio remains well on track to bring world-class optic-fiber connectivity to enterprises, small businesses, homes, and public spaces. Most of Jio's infrastructure for providing these services are already in place. This is the next big monetization opportunity for Jio. I will regularly apprise you of the progress we make in each of these areas," he said.

Reliance Jio has been testing its high-speed fixed-line broadband service for a while now. JioFiber is live in select localities in about 10 cities across India, including Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat, and Vadodara.