Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani made a big- bang announcement at the annual general meeting of shareholders in Mumbai on Wednesday that will intensify competition in the already crowded telecom market. RIL's telecom unit Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI) will start offering fourth- generation (4G) services next year with an investment of Rs 70,000 crore.
RIL unveiled a Rs 1.8- lakh crore investment plan across businesses aimed at catapulting it into the top 50 companies of the world. About five years after buying out Infotel Broadband Services within hours of the firm winning nationwide wireless broadband licenses, RIL will start wireless-broadband services in 5,000 cities and 2,15,000 villages in 2015, Ambani said.
RJI, the only company with nationwide permits for 4G services, will start field trials in August before a full-fledged rollout in 2015. The company, which returned to the telecom sector in 2010 with the Rs 4,800-crore acquisition of Infotel, said that the telecom venture will eventually span out to more than 6,00,000 villages.
RIL operates the world's largest crude oil refining complex.
Ambani, the world's richest energy billionaire, unveiled his vision to achieve in the next three years what the firm had done in 37 years of its listed history. RIL will invest Rs 1.8 lakh crore in margin- enhancing petrochem units, expansion of the energy business, opening more retail stores and the rollout of the telecom venture.
The firm plans to use 4G technology, called long- term evolution, or LTE, to offer wireless broadband services. This, Ambani said, will help India become a leader in the digital era.
Ambani said that the company, which became the biggest retailer in the country by revenue in 2013- 14, is aiming at doubling its retail business every three-to-four years. While it looks to increasing output from its eastern offshore gas fields, RIL will begin extracting gas from coal seams ( coal- bed methane) in Madhya Pradesh in 2015- 16.
Ambani said that RIL, which is ranked 135 on the Fortune 500 list of global companies, is looking at breaking into the top 50.
To shareholders queries, Ambani said that the company will raise Rs 60,000 crore in debt over the next two years but will be debt- free on an overall basis by 2017 with a large cash pile.
Courtesy: Mail Today