Reliance Jio would play a key role in the development of the 5G ecosystem in India based on the market dynamics, Reliance Industries said in its latest annual report. On the issue of floor price for mobile services, the company noted that market dynamics have improved in the recent past as reflected by December tariff hikes by operators.
The government has also expressed its intentions of conducting the next round of spectrum auctions during the fiscal year 2020-21, it said. "Jio with its 5G-ready network and extensive fiber assets, would play a key role in the development of the 5G ecosystem in India, based on market dynamics," the annual report stated.
In his letter to shareholders, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said that there are still millions of 2G phone users, who cannot use internet, highlighting urgent need for India to transition fully from 2G to the 4G era and beyond, and underlining the opportunity Jio has in such transformation.
"Over the past two years, JioPhone has successfully transitioned approximately 100 million erstwhile feature phone (2G) users to the 4G network," he said. Ambani noted that Jio's success in building technology specifically for India and its ability to proliferate across the country has attracted global technology leaders - Facebook and Microsoft - to forge partnerships with it.
Reliance Jio continues to add subscribers at a rate unprecedented in the telecom world with 387.5 million mobile data subscribers (as of March 31, 2020), Ambani said. Describing Jio as a key catalyst in creating the broadband data market in India, he said it is now the number one mobile telecom operator in the country by both adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and subscribers.
Reliance Jio is rolling out its state-of-the-art wireline services across homes and enterprises, he said adding all this will help place a strong foundation for offering platform-based digital services. According to the report, Jio connected about one million homes with JioFiber services until March 2020.
Ambani further said that rollout of the digital commerce initiative will open up further growth opportunities for the organised retail business, leveraging the strength of consumer and digital platforms. "Reliance Retail and WhatsApp have entered into a commercial partnership agreement to further accelerate Reliance Retail's Digital Commerce business on the JioMart platform using WhatsApp and to support small businesses on WhatsApp," he said.
Further, Jio said that market dynamics have improved in the recent past, as reflected by tariff hikes in December 2019, where all the operators revised their tariff plans upwards by up to 40 per cent. "During the year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also initiated consultation process on feasibility of establishing a floor price for mobility services in the country," it said, adding that Jio would continue to actively engage with the regulator and industry stakeholders to drive growth for all.
On the issue of call connect charges, where interconnect usage charge (IUC) would be reduced to zero with effect from January 1, 2021, Jio said it accordingly introduced a charge of 6 paise/minute on all off-net outgoing voice minutes to pass through the impact of change in regulatory stance on IUC in October 2019. "This has led to a significant improvement in voice traffic mix as misusers of free voice services have left the network and Jio is now a net receiver of IUC. Jio continues to believe that transition to the BAK (Bill and Keep) regime will hasten the adoption of more efficient technologies like VoLTE, which have negligible cost for carrying and servicing essential voice services," RIL said.
In the recent months, Reliance Industries has secured over Rs 1.15 lakh crore from global tech investors including Facebook by selling a tad less than a quarter of its digital business and raised Rs 53,124 crore by selling shares to existing investors in the past days. Sale of stake in Jio Platforms raised Rs 1,15,693.95 crore from marquee names including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton and PIF since April 22, 2020.