Reliance Jio Infocomm To Drive India’s 4G Growth
Telecom giants are upbeat about the fourth generation (4G) services that are likely to see a boom in India and the latest to join the 4G bandwagon is Reliance Jio Infocomm. The telecom major said it will commercially launch 4G services in 2015, and is investing Rs 70,000 Crore in this inotiative.
“The year 2015 will see the phased launch of Reliance Jio across India,” RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement. The 4G service will cover all states, around 5,000 towns and cities, accounting for over 90 per cent of urban India and over 215,000 villages. “Eventually, the network will encompass each of our over 600,000 villages,” he said.
While, limited field trials are already underway, he added that expanded field trials will start in August across multiple cities. “These trials would continue through the end of 2014 and early part of 2015. The objective is to ensure that everything that we offer is future-proof and world-class,” Ambani said.
According to a report by global telecom body GSMA, 4G-LTE (long term evolution) connections across the world is forecast to pass one billion by 2017 of which the Asian market will account for over 47% of all 4G connections – driven mainly by India and China.
“4G is expected to herald a new age of productivity for remote business users. Greater capacity, lower cost of deployment, support for high mobility, spectrum flexibility and superior quality of services are some of the factors that make 4G-LTE ideal for high-speed, high-quality mobile broadband services,” says telecom analyst Ganesh Tamboli.
4G-LTE will also boost the demand for data intensive services like mobile TV and mobile videoconferencing. This, in turn, is expected to increase telecom operators’ revenues, while enriching the overall end-user experience. From steaming corporate videos and video chat in HD as well as running presentations on tablets and smartphone, 4G will give a new dimension to mobility just like its predecessor 3G did.
Experts however emphasize on the need for creating a 4G ecosystem in the country for telecom players to sustain and thrive in the market. Currently, the inability to support voice, SMS and spectrum concerns, including the lack of spectrum harmonization, is likely to dampen its adoption.
Tamboli points out in an interview last year that Indian telecom operators should offer cost effective 4G services in order to increase the subscriber base. This means that price of dongles need to be reduced, there has to be a greater broadband penetration and telecom players should launch 4G in more circles than they are doing at present.
While players such as Bharti Airtel announced that it is offering 4G services in India at 3G rates currently in India, more players will work on innovative pricing once the cost of handsets go down further. Domestic companies such as Micromax and Karbonn are experimenting on 4G devices. According to some, with a strong digital infrastructure in place, this is the right time for Reliance Jio Infocomm to explore this segment.
The company reportedly has more than 10,000 full-time employees working alongside nearly 30,000 professionals from its partners and vendors from across the world. In addition, there are more than 100,000 people working across the country to create the digital infrastructure backbone.
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