Mumbai: Mukesh Ambani’s ambitious telecom venture Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (Reliance Jio) which was scheduled to launch its pan-India services from December appears to have been delayed now.
As per the company’s statement in its second quarter analyst presentation, Reliance Jio will launch its services by the end of the current financial year, indicating that the launch might get postponed beyond December.
The quarterly presentation stated, “Financial year 2016-17 is projected to be the first year of commercial operations for RJIL (Reliance Jio)”.
This is a clear though subtle shift from Ambani’s own comment during RIL’s annual shareholders’ meet where he had said that R-Jio will be launched in December and the financial year 2016-17 will be the first “full” year of its operations.
“We are currently in the pre-launch testing and stabilization phase of this large and complex network. Over the next few months, we will initiate an extensive beta launch involving millions of friendly customers across all our markets.This beta programme will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year. I am glad to announce that financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio,” said Ambani in June.
The company also informed analysts on Friday that the launch is likely to be delayed.
“Launch of RIL Jio will be slightly postponed from end of Q3FY16 to Q1FY17. However company will come out with mobile handsets under the brand name of LYF from mid November 2015. The budget of this handsets will be from Rs.7,000 to Rs.25,000,” wrote Dhaval Joshi, analyst with brokerage Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd, in a note published late on Friday.
As part of its fourth generation (4G) telecom service, the company has mainly two parts to its proposed business—first, wireless telecom service which will be available through cell phones, and second, fibre-to-the-home network for offering broadband services to households.
A telecom consultant, who did not wish to be identified, pointed out that while the company has been able to set up substantial infrastructure in terms of telecom towers to roll-out its wireless network, the integration of the services with its devices ecosystem is taking time because of discontinuity in its spectrum availability across all 22 circles of India.
R-Jio has a pan-India license in the 2300 MHz frequency band, which has not seen many international 4G launches using the so-called long term evolution (LTE) technology standard. This is mainly because the higher the frequency, the lower the signal strength, although it offers higher data delivery speed. This increases the risk of its customers not getting high-speed seamless connectivity pan-India due to limited reach of the 2300 MHz band and no fallback option to other’s 4G network.
Besides, it also has licenses of 800 MHz in 10 circles and 1800 MHz in 14 circles.
“We have intimated the DoT (department of telecommunications) and are in extensive discussions to share RCom’s (Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd) 800 MHz band across 7 circles to broaden the scope of our coverage,” said Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy, Reliance Jio, during a press conference on Friday.
He said this will help the company in providing seamless connectivity to customers across the country. The company is in discussions with other operators too.
Thakur said that for the FTTH segment, Reliance Jio is also talking to several local cable operators to achieve last mile connectivity so that more homes can be connected by the time of the launch.
“As we draw close to the launch, we are in advanced testing phases through 10,000 professional testers who are covering almost a million kilometres everyday and giving us feedback,” he mentioned.
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