Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reliance Jio commercial 4G launch in August, to offer free voice services

Reliance Jio Infocomm's 4G services is expected to launch in August . The Reliance Industries-owned telecom company's maiden plan likely to be called Freedom may offer free voice services bundled with data, priced at least 25% lower than current offerings of top rivals.

The plan's name is a reference to India's Independence day falling in August, according to the people cited. The launch could be on August 15, according to these people. "The teams had been forewarned about a launch thrice earlier. But this time, the management means business," said one of people.

Described as the world's biggest startup with an investment of Rs 1,50,000 crore, The launch has been six years in the making since RIL re-entered the telecom sector by buying a company which had won pan-India 4G airwaves in an auction in 2010. The launch is likely to unleash a tariff war, if the Freedom plan described by the people cited is anything to go by.

The free voice offer aims to hit incumbent operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which still draw 80% of their revenues from voice. To avail of the free voice plan, Jio subscribers will need to buy data packs, which will offer 1GB at around Rs 80, another person quoted earlier said. This compares with around Rs100-120 for 1GB offered by current operators.

HSBC expects Jio to garner subscriber market share of over 15% in the next four years by offering faster data speeds at lower prices. It also expects a drop of 10-15% in headline data rates over the next three months and around 30% by end of March 2017. Emails to Reliance Jio went unanswered.

Initial signs of Jio preparing for a commercial launch came in early June when it began selling Lyf smartphones with SIM cards enabled for highspeed data services in bigger cities. This was the first time regular consumers started getting access to the company's 4G network, after the conglomerate opened up services for employees late last year.

The SIM cards came with three months of free unlimited data and 4,500 minutes of voice calls, suggesting that a commercial launch even if limited may be round the corner.

The telco, in early June, also launched, the website through which consumers can register and obtain Jio connections. The new website has helped the company build a database of potential customers while providing a preview of Jio's app-based content services such as MyJio, JioChat, Jio-Play, JioOnDemand, etc.

 Lyf smartphones users get free data for 3 months now some Lyf devices gets Rs 1000 off and now available as low as for Rs 2,999. Lyf Water 2 which now retail at Rs. 9,499 (a Rs. 4,000 drop Rs. 13,499); Lyf Wind 6, which will be available at Rs. 5,999 ( Rs. 500 price drop Rs. 6,499); and Lyf Flame 2 will be available at Rs. 3,499 (receives a Rs. 1,300 price drop from earlier price of Rs. 4,799).

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