Reliance Jio Becomes India’s Largest Telecom Operator
After years of preparation, Reliance came with a telecom operator called Jio in September 2016. Now in less than 3 years, Jio has become India largest telco operator in India with 331.3 million users across the country.
Jio confirmed its mobile subscriber base in the recently released quarterly report. The subscriber base of Vodafone-Idea has fallen to 320 million from 334.1 million this quarter. It is worth to note that they had 400 million subscribers when Vodafone India and Idea Cellular completed the merger. Airtel has yet to release its quarterly figures but its subscriber base in May was 320.6 million. I don’t think it has grown enough to beat Jio.
The entry of Jio disrupted India market and changed the way people of India use their smartphones. Jio came with free of cost SIM cards, free voice calls over a 4G network and extremely cheaper data places. Before Jio, telcos were charging for voice calls and SMS. Users were also paying to roaming charges. So, Jio was an attractive deal and it crossed 100 million subscribers in just 170 days after the launch.
Jio was also offering a bunch of apps including JioTV, Jio Cinema, Jio News, and Jio Saavn (previously Jio Music) with its Prime membership. With an increasing number of the userbase, the company added more data in existing plans.
The company also launched a feature phone running KaiOS called JioPhone to reach more subscribers. The feature phone came with apps like Twitter and Maps. The successor JioPhone 2 went a step ahead and brought popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp. Jio also sold over 50 million Jio Phones.
This forced other operators to slash prices of their data rates. Other operators who were charging on average Rs. 250 for 1 GB data were forced to offer 1 GB data in Rs. 15.
Jio not just disrupted the telecom market, it also helped in the growth of YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok. Indians now consume 3.7 billion GB data per month as compared to 200 million GB per month three years ago.
In recent months, services of Jio are not as good as it used to be. Now when Reliance Jio is at the top, it should focus on improving the quality of services to remain at the top in the coming months.