Life in Gurgaon

JioGigaFiber: Reliance Jio looks to disrupt India’s telecom landscape, again

Source: Hindustan Times

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Almost two years after rolling out its mobile services, Reliance Jio is now gearing up to bring another disruption in the telecom industry. The company is betting big on the optical fiber-based fixed broadband segment which is currently dominated by BSNL, Bharti Airtel along with other smaller players. Jio on Thursday announced the launch of JioGigaFiber broadband services in India.

“As on 30th April, 2018, the top five Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL (9.24 million), Bharti Airtel (2.19 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.31 million), MTNL (0.86 million) and Hathway Cable & Datacom (0.79 million),” according to the latest TRAI data.

“As per reports received from 270 operators as compared to 262 operators in previous month, the number of broadband subscribers increased from 412.6 million at the end of Mar-18 to 419.79 million at the end of Apr-18 with a monthly growth rate of 1.74%,” according to the data that is inclusive of wired, mobile phone users (phones and dongles), and fixed wireless subscribers (Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, Point-to-Point Radio, and VSAT).

Reliance Jio pointed out that India ranks very low in terms of global ranking for fixed broadband.

“We are currently running beta trials in tens of thousands of homes. While India has pole-vaulted into global leadership in the mobile broadband space… we still lag behind significantly in fixed-line broadband. India is ranked quite low at 134th in the global ranking for fixed broadband. Poor fixed-line infrastructure has been a key reason for this,” said Mukesh Ambani at the company’s annual general meeting.

High Speed Network
One of the known advantages of optical fibre-network has been the high-speed internet connectivity. For instance, Airtel provides its V-Fiber high-speed broadband data to its users with maximum speeds up to 300Mbps. Spectra offers up to 1Gbps speed in select areas. Jio, however, is promising data speeds up to 1Gbps and will reach a larger area, with over 1,000 cities upon its launch.

“Starting this Independence Day, August 15th, you can start registering your interest for JioGigaFiber through both MyJio and Jio.com. We will prioritise our JioGigaFiber rollout to those localities from where we receive the highest number of registrations. JIOGIGAFIBER will be the largest greenfield fixed-line broadband rollout anywhere in the world, with rollout happening in 1,100 cities of India simultaneously,” said Ambani.

“At Jio, we are determined to take India to be among the top-5 in broadband connectivity, both for mobility as well as fibre-based wireline connectivity. We have built future proof networks and will continue to deliver the most advanced technologies to our customers for decades to come,” he added.

Segment–wise broadband subscribers and monthly growth rate (TRAI)

Smart Homes
With its new JioGigaFiber network, Reliance Jio is also looking at building an ecosystem for high-speed IoT and democratising other futuristic technologies such as Virtual Reality. Reliance Jio claims its new network can handle high-definition streaming including 360-degree content in up to 4K resolution, video conferencing, voice-activated virtual assistant, VR, and other related smart home solutions.

The company plans to launch a bunch of new accessories, such as gas leak sensor, siren, CCTVs, and smoke sensor that leverage Jio’s broadband services.

The Disruption
According to industry experts, Jio’s new broadband services are set to revive interest in the broadband segment as incumbents look to tap wireless consumers.

“After disrupting mobile telecom market, JioGigaFiber will shake the home FTTH with its OTT services and powerful STB. Since Jio is a greenfield player and has a complete ecosystem offering multiple services like Jio health/education, Jio TV, 3D VR streaming and smart home accessories, it will have an edge against the current broadband services providers. Apart from this, JioGigaFiber will be fiber based. So it will offer faster and high quality broadband services which currently very few players are offering or are in process of upgrading to fibre-based network,” said Parv Sharma, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Responding to Jio’s new broadband service, Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI said, “We expect JioGigaFiber to be a game changer and revolutionise the ICT sector and drive the Digital India vision. We expect the initiative to transform allied sectors such as the healthcare, education and agriculture in addition to the retail industry. The focus on agriculture, health and education is the need of the moment and will help prepare networks for offerings and use cases anticipated in 5G, which is a matter of high importance for the Government. Comprehensive offerings by Jio will thus touch every aspect of human life and will bring benefits of high-speed connectivity to the masses.”