NEW DELHI: Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio will offer a cheap MiFi device and 10 GB of data for Rs , even as it prepares to launch commercial services by early March,RTN Asia reported.
The report said that the telecom operator is increasingly appointing new distributors for its SIM cards across the country. It has also given them a working target of launching commercial 4G services early in March.
A distributor told the publication that the company’s 4G tariff will be path breaking. “If they are selling a device and 10 GB of data for Rs 700, I am sure their recharges will also be very competitive,” a distributor was quoted as saying.
Jio is promising supply of dongles and SIMs in February and informed distributors that commercial launch will take place either in the same month or maximum by early March, the report said.
Jio is delaying the commercial launch due to coverage issues. The report said that Jio is currently at about 70% coverage versus the biggest player in the market.
One of the distributors said that Jio aims to take the coverage to at least 90% just with their 4G network before it launches commercial operations. “Jio’s 4G coverage will be bigger and better than the 2G coverage of most players,” he said.
Jio, last month, launched services for its group staff. The complimentary offer for group staff will continue until Jio launches its 4G services commercially this year.
Reliance employees across group companies and business partners are being offered free 4G connections and Voice over LTE (VoLTE)-enabled handsets at discounted rates to sample Jio’s high-speed broadband services.
The limited start comes more than five years after RIL bought a company that won broadband spectrum across India to re-enter the telecom sector. But technical challenges related to the 2300 Mhz (4G) airwaves meant the company hasn’t been able to meet the December timeline for the commercial launch announced by chairman Ambani in June.
Still, this is an advance toward an intense battle in which Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea will be investing heavily as part of plans to strengthen services in anticipation of expected tariff battles, which could leave the industry bleeding but consumers happy, and hasten moves toward consolidation. All three incumbents have already kicked off their respective 4G services.
Jio holds the biggest chunk of liberalised spectrum among telecom operators that can be used for deploying any technology for mobile services. Apart from airwaves in the 2300 Mhz band pan-India, it has also accumulated airwaves in the 1800MHz band and 800MHz band and is also said to be signing spectrum sharing and trading deals with Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Communications for the latter’s 800 Mhz airwaves. It has also tied up infrastructure sharing pacts with a number of tower companies.