Jio Customer Acquisition Targets Fail by 50%; TRAI May Not Allow Higher Termination Fees From Jio!
Reliance Jio’s ambitious plan to roll out data-backed telecom services with zero voice tariff along with cheapest 4G Internet was backed on an even ambitious plan to acquire 100 million customers by end of December.
The dynamics of the market and equations of the investment dictated that Jio can break-even only if they are able to acquire 100 million or 10 crore customers by the time 2016 ended.
However, as per latest data, Jio is falling short on that plan; in fact, they are lagging behind by 50%, in terms of new customer acquisition, and this may delay Jio’s planning of breaking even their investments.
As per The Hindu, Jio is currently adding only 5 lakh customers a day, which is 50% less than their initial plans of adding 10 lakh customers a day, thereby taking them to the figure of 10 crore customers by the end of December.
An unnamed Jio official said, “We have crossed the 5-million subscriber base mark and we are adding about five-lakh-plus customers every day since our launch on September 5, under the Jio Welcome offer..”
Although adding 5 lakh new customers is no mean feat for a new telecom firm; but when it comes to earth shattering plans of Mukesh Ambani, the expectations have clearly not being met. The math is pretty simple here: In order to make some money while delivering disruptive data tariff (which is being called datagiri), Jio needs massive numbers of customers, because quantity can help them break-even.
We had reported earlier how Preview customers of Jio are being suddenly migrated to Welcome offer with data limitation, and how the customers are clearly upset about the same.
Why Jio Is Not Able To Add 10 Lakh Customers A Day?
As per incoming reports, e-KYC is the factor which is being explained for slower activations of new SIM cards. First of all, Mukesh Ambani had set an internal deadline of 10 crore customers by December 31, 2016, only the backing of superior e-KYC based activations, using a new biometric device.
However, e-KYC facility is only available in Mumbai and Delhi as of now, and even that is not working optimally.
Hence, the problem here is not awareness or demand, but Jio’s backend process which is failing to deliver.
However, Jio is working fast towards achieving faster activations using Aadhaar based e-KYC process.
Recently, Mukesh Ambani said, “I request all Jio users to kindly bear with us for any inconvenience, until we fully implement this process. We want to make the on-boarding experience for Jio users as simple and delightful as possible. And with eKYC, in a few weeks, any Jio customer carrying an Aadhaar card will be able to walk out of a Jio store with a working connection within 15 minutes,”
Good News for Jio: TRAI May Not Allow Higher Charges
In a related but good news for Jio, TRAI has indicated that they may not allow other telcos to charge higher termination fees from Jio. In a meeting held few days back, leading telecom firms such as Airtel, Idea, Vodafone had demanded that Jio should pay more than 14 paisa per minute as call termination charges for incoming/outgoing calls ending on their network.
TRAI has ordered telcos to provides the “requisite number of interconnect points to Jio at the earliest”, so that customers do not suffer due to this issue.
Besides, TRAI has also asked Jio, Airtel and Vodafone to provide their call drop data. This has been done after Airtel and other telcos complained that due to Jio’s free voice offer, their own network is encountering a ‘tsunami of traffic’, thereby congesting their network.
Reportedly, 5 crore calls from Jio users were dropped due to this ongoing tussle between telecom operators.
After TRAI’s verdict, it is now clear that other telecom operators will have to support Jio calls, with the same call termination charges.
We will keep you updated as details come in.