Reliance Jio Will Roll Out 4G Services By Dec; Airtel Claims They Will Launch Before Reliance
Indian telecom market is right now in the midst of an intense fight between Reliance Jio and Airtel to roll out 4G services across the country. Both the telecom giants want the first movers advantage, and they both are leaving no stones unturned to ensure their own respective wins.
On one hand Reliance Jio has set December, 2015 as the deadline for the roll out of their 4G services pan-India, leveraging their vast network of Reliance Digital outlets; Airtel has declared that they will launch 4G services across 44 cities before December.
Reliance Jio: Leveraging Reliance Digital Outlets
Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio has made a strategic decision of leveraging 1298+ Reliance Digital outlets across India to distribute their new 4G services. Both Reliance Digital Express and Reliance Mini Express Stores would be extensively used to bundle in 4G services, at a discounted rate.
Talks are also on with smartphone brands like Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei etc to embed Reliance Jio 4G services with their new handsets to make it easier for the customers.
December, 2015 is the deadline for the roll out their high speed 4G services.
RIL chief financial officer V. Srikanth said, “We will start extensive beta testing of our telecom infrastructure, including network across the country in the ensuing weeks to commence operations in December,”, adding, “We will have a range of smartphones from entry level to premium segment in our digital stores across the country.”
Around 400-500 new Reliance Digital stores are added every year, and the decision to leverage their outlets can be a major factor in determining the market leader. Insider reports also claim that around 1000 new ‘Jio Centers’ would be launched, along with 5,00,000 ‘Connectivity Kiosks’ across shopping malls and main markets of every city.
Another report mentions that Reliance may launch their own flagship brand handset called ‘Reconnect’, which will be sold via Reliance Outlets. 4G services from Jio would be embedded by default in these branded handsets.
As per Reliance Jio’s strategy and planning head Anshuman Thakkur, the company has tied up with various firms to use 75,000 towers, out of which they own 30,000. By December end, this number would be doubled.
As per officials, testing is currently on for their 4G services roll out pan-India.
Airtel: 4G Across 44 Cities Before Reliance Jio
As per media reports, Airtel has vehemently claimed that they will launch 4G services before Reliance Jio. As per a senior Airtel executive, they will launch 4G services across 44 cities, meanwhile upgrade in 20 cities where they have already launched 4G, albeit in a testing phase.
They have already started a nation-wide campaign to migrate their 3G users into 4G, and even offering free home delivery of the new SIM at no extra charge.
With 19.5 million 3G users, Airtel is India’s biggest provider of mobile Internet (which also includes data card and WiFi based distribution). They have already slashed their 4G internet rates to trigger a price war.
Some reports also indicate that just like Reliance Jio, Airtel may also launch their own branded handsets costing around Rs 4000, which will have 4G embedded. Like Reliance, Airtel is also in talks with major smartphone makers to offer their 4G services by default in new handsets.
It seems Indian customers will soon experience a new world of high speed Internet, and it would be difficult to choose the winner here. No doubt, we will be spoilt for choice here..