Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, said that his daughter Isha had seeded the idea of telecom venture Jio in 2011. Talking at an award ceremony in London, Ambani, the richest Indian, said his daughter once complained about the slow internet speed, and this inspired him to enter the broadband internet arena.
Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), which was launched in September 2016, is the fourth largest carrier in India. Jio offers free lifetime voice call services and mobile data at dirt cheap rates.
"My children, Isha and Akash, belong to India's young generation that is far more creative, far more ambitious and far more impatient to become the best in the world. These young Indians convinced me that broadband internet is the defining technology of our age and India cannot be left behind," he said, while delivering his acceptance speech for the 'Drivers of Change' award at the Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards.
He added that Indian mobile networks in 2011 suffered from poor connectivity and data packages were artificially priced at a premium, which made them unaffordable for most.
With the entry of Jio, data was not only made abundant, but also accessible and affordable to all Indians. He went on to add that while the US and Europe had ushered 1G and 2G connectivity, respectively, before China leapfrogged with 3G, Jio's 4G LTE-only data network opened up new possibilities. "Jio has already become the biggest game changer in India and will make India a leader in 4G in 2019," he said.
"The entire Indian telecom industry took 25 years to build a pan-India 2G network. We (Jio) took just three years to build a 4G LTE network, which is much larger and far more advanced. We are also 5G-ready today," Ambani said. He has reportedly pumped in more than $31 billion to break into India's mobile-phone market.
He said that Jio's endeavour with high-quality data at the lowest price in the world -- at almost one-tenth the prices of the US -- has resulted in the migration of 300,000 to 500,000 Indians daily on its network. "This has made Jio the biggest start-up in India's history," said Ambani.
He added that Jio is also offering the "world's most affordable 4G LTE smartphone" that is available for free with a deposit of Rs 1,500 in order to capture the feature phone market in India.
"In the next few years, Jio will empower the equivalent of two-thirds of Europe's population to enjoy world-class digital services in India," he said, adding that with everyone getting access to internet, India will be among the first to graduate to the Internet of Everything.
Jio is also preparing itself to offer newer data-heavy services that can connect homes, businesses, and cars to the internet.
With Jio, India has jumped from 155 to No. 1 ranking, globally, in mobile broadband data consumption in less than two years. Reliance Industries was felicitated for "commitment to innovations and growth in the areas of hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail and 4G digital services."
Ambani said that his late father Dhirubhai Ambani was the original 'Driver of Change' in India's business history, stating that the legendary industrialist founded Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in 1966 with a meager capital of Rs 1,000. Today, RIL is an over $50 billion group.