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Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited or Jio is an LTE mobile network operator in India. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries headquartered in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra that provides wireless 4G LTE service network (without 2G/3G-based services) and is the only 'VoLTE-only' (Voice over LTE) operator in the country which lacks legacy network support of 2G and 3G, with coverage across all 22 telecom circles in India.[2][3]

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited
Subsidiary of RIL
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 2010; 7 years ago (2010)
Founder Mukesh Ambani
Headquarters Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Key people
  • Sanjay Mashruwala (Managing Director)
  • Jyotindra Thacker (Head of IT)
  • Akash Ambani (Chief of Strategy)[1]
Products
Parent Reliance Industries
Subsidiaries LYF
Website www.jio.com

The services were first beta-launched to Jio's partners and employees on 27 December 2015 on the eve of 83rd birth anniversary of late Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries,[4][5] and later services were commercially launched on 5th September 2016.

Contents

History

 
Jio's headquarters in RCP, Navi Mumbai

In June 2010, Reliance Industries (RIL) bought a 96% stake in Infotel Broadband Services Limited (IBSL) for 4,800 crore (US$750 million). Although unlisted, IBSL was the only company that won broadband spectrum in all 22 circles in India in the 4G auction that took place earlier that year.[6] Later continuing as RIL's telecom subsidiary, Infotel Broadband Services Limited was renamed as Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) in January 2013.[7]

In June 2015, Jio announced that it will start its operations all over the country by the end of 2015.[8] However, four months later in October 2015, the company's spokesmen sent out a press release stating that the launch was postponed to the first quarter of the financial year 2016–2017.[9]

Later in July, a PIL filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO called the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, through Prashant Bhushan, challenged the grant of pan-India licence to Jio by the Government of India. The PIL also alleged that Jio was allowed to provide voice telephony along with its 4G data service, by paying an additional fees of just 165.8 crore (US$26 million) which was arbitrary and unreasonable, and contributed to a loss of 2,284.2 crore (US$360 million) to the exchequer.[10][11]

The Indian Department of Telecom (DoT), however, refuted all of CAG's claims. In its statement, DoT explained that the rules for 3G and BWA spectrum didn't restrict BWA winners from providing voice telephony. As a result, the PIL was revoked, and the accusations were dismissed.[12]

Beta launch

The 4G services were launched internally to Jio's partners, its staff and their families on 27 December 2015. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, who is also the brand ambassador of Jio, kickstarted the launch event which took place in Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai, along with celebrities like musician A R Rahman, actors Ranbir Kapoor and Javed Jaffrey, and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani.[13] The closed event was witnessed by more than 35000 RIL employees some of whom were virtually connected from around 1000 locations including Dallas in the US.[14][15][16]

Commercial launch

The company commercially launched its services on 5 September 2016.[4] Within the first month of commercial operations, Jio announced that it had acquired 16 million subscribers. This is the fastest ramp-up by any mobile network operator anywhere in the world.[17] Jio crossed 50 million subscriber mark in 83 days since its launch.[18] subsequently crossing 100 million subscribers on 22 February 2017.[19] By October 2017 it had about 130 million subscribers.[20]

Alliance

Jio, in February 2016 announced a global alliance of Mobile Network Operators which include:[21][22]

Network

Radio frequency summary

Jio owns spectrum in 850 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands in ten and six circles, respectively, of India's 22 circles, and also owns pan-India licensed 2,300 MHz spectrum. The spectrum is valid till 2035.[23]

Telecom circle FDD-LTE
1800MHz
Band 3
FDD-LTE
850MHz
Band 5
TDD-LTE
2300MHz
Band 40
Andhra Pradesh & Telangana      
Assam      
Bihar & Jharkhand      
Delhi      
Uttar Pradesh (East)      
Gujarat      
Haryana      
Himachal Pradesh      
Jammu and Kashmir      
Karnataka      
Kerala      
Kolkata      
Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh      
Maharashtra      
Goa      
North East      
Odisha      
Punjab      
Rajasthan      
Tamil Nadu      
West Bengal      
Uttar Pradesh (West)      

Partnerships

Jio shares spectrum with Reliance Communications. The sharing deal is for 800 MHz band across seven circles other than the 10 circles for which Jio already owns.[24]

In September 2016, Jio signed a pact with BSNL for intra-circle roaming which would enable users of the operators to use each other's 4G and 2G spectrum in national roaming mode.[25]

In February 2017, Jio announced a partnership with Samsung to work on LTE - Advanced Pro and 5G. [26]

Products and Services

 
The official slogan of Jio

JioPhone

On 21 July 2017, Jio introduced its first affordable 4G feature phone, powered by KaiOS, named as JioPhone. The price announced for it is ₹ 0 with a security deposit of ₹ 1500 which can be withdrawn back by the user by returning the JioPhone at Jio stores only after 3 years. This phone was released for beta users on 15 August 2017 and pre-booking for regular users started on 24 August 2017.[27][28]

4G Broadband

The company launched its 4G broadband services throughout India on September 2016.[9] It was slated to release in December 2015 after some reports said that the company was waiting to receive final permits from the government.[29] Jio offers fourth-generation (4G) data and voice services, along with peripheral services like instant messaging and streaming movies and music.[30]

The company has a network of more than 250,000 km of fiber optic cables in the country, over which it will be partnering with local cable operators to get broader connectivity for its broadband services.[31] With its multi-service operator (MSO) licence, Jio will also serve as a TV channel distributor and will offer television-on-demand on its network.

LYF Smartphones

 
An image of LYF WATER 2 phone with IPS display.[32]

In June 2015, Jio entered into an agreement with domestic handset maker Intex to supply 4G handsets capable of voice over LTE (VoLTE).[33] However, in October 2015, Jio announced that it would be launching its own mobile handset brand named LYF.[34][35][36]

On 25 January 2016, the company launched its LYF smartphone series starting with Water 1, through its chain of electronic retail outlets, Reliance Retail.[37] Three more handset models have been released so far, namely Water 2,[38] Earth 1,[39] and Flame 1.[40][41]

Jionet WiFi

Prior to its pan-India launch of 4G data and telephony services, Jio has started providing free Wi-Fi hotspot services in cities throughout India including Surat, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh,[42] Indore, Jabalpur, Dewas and Ujjain[43] in Madhya Pradesh, select locations of Mumbai in Maharashtra,[44] Kolkata in West Bengal,[45] Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh,[46] Bhubaneswar in Odisha,[47] Mussoorie in Uttarakhand,[48] Collectorate's Office in Meerut,[49] and at MG Road in Vijayawada[50] among others.

In March 2016, Jio started providing free Wi-Fi internet to spectators at six cricket stadiums hosting the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 matches. Jionet was made available in Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai), Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium (Mohali), Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium (Dharamshala), Chinnaswamy Stadium (Bengaluru), Feroz Shah Kotla (Delhi), and Eden Gardens (Kolkata) in India.[51]

Jio apps

 
Jio sim card pouch as distributed by Reliance Jio Infocomm

In May 2016, Jio launched a bundle of multimedia apps on Google Play as part of its upcoming 4G services. While the apps are available to download for everyone, a user will require a Jio SIM card to use them. Additionally, most of the apps are in beta phase.[52] Following is a list of the apps:

  • MyJio - Manage Jio Account and Digital Services associated with it[53][54]
  • JioTV - A live TV channel service
  • JioCinema - An online HD video library[55]
  • JioChat Messenger - An instant messaging app[56]
  • JioMusic - A music player
  • Jio4GVoice (earlier JioJoin) - A VoLTE phone simulator[57]
  • JioMags - E-reader for magazines[58]
  • JioXpressNews - A news and magazine aggregator
  • JioSecurity - Security app[59]
  • JioDrive - Cloud-based backup tool[60]
  • JioMoney Wallet - An online payments/wallet app[61]
  • JioSwitch - Transfer content
  • JioNet - Connect to JioNet Wi-fi

Affordable 4G Phones

Reliance Jio has teamed up with Google to manufacture affordable 4G handsets. These phones will run exclusively on Jio network. The two companies are also working on developing a software for smart-TV services. Both are expected to launch in 2017.[62]

JioFi

Jio has also launched Wi-Fi routers by the name JioFi.[63]

Branding and marketing

 
Jio logo before September 2016

On December 24, 2015, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was appointed as Jio's brand ambassador.[64][65][66]

Pokémon Go

Location-based AR game Pokémon Go was launched in India in December, 2016 in collaboration with Jio in which hundreds of Jio stores and other Reliance marts and shopping malls like Reliance Trends and Reliance Digital became Sponsored PokéStops and Gyms.[67]

Reception of Jio Prime

By July 125.5 million Jio Customers had opted for Jio Prime. The last date for registration to Jio Prime membership was 31 March 2017. But, it was further extended till 15 April 2017 along with an introduction of new offer, "Jio Summer Surprise" which gave customers 3 months complimentary services free of cost. On 6 April 2017, TRAI advised Jio to withdraw this offer.[68]

Controversies

Issue with incumbents

In September 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) summoned Jio and the country's existing telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular to meet and discuss an issue regarding interconnection between the operators. This was a result after Jio complained to TRAI and Department of Telecom (DoT) about other operators not honoring their commercial agreements to let Jio use their network resources. The company further added that the operators are trying to sabotage its entry into the telecom scene. However, DoT dismissed the request and directed TRAI to help settle the dispute amicably. Moreover, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) requested TRAI to include all the operators in the discussion instead of the three.[69]

The incumbent operators had previously approached the country's PMO to reiterate their stance they "are in no way obliged or in any position to entertain Jio's requests for interconnection points as they do not have either the network or the financial resources to terminate the latter's humongous volumes of potentially asymmetric voice traffic." Responding to this, Mukesh Ambani, owner of Jio, said, "All operators have publicly said last week that they will provide this (interconnect and MNP). So, we are waiting. These are all great companies. They have their own reputations to protect. I am confident they won't violate the law." Commenting about number portability, he added, "The number belongs to the consumer. No operator can cause trouble if they want to change operators."[70] However, on 12 September 2016, Idea Cellular agreed to allow Jio to use 196 of its interconnection access points.[71]

Alleged subscriber data breach

On July 10, 2017, Reliance Jio's customer data was allegedly leaked on the website magicapk.com.[72] The website was suspended shortly after the news of the breach broke out.[73]


See also

References

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