Reliance Jio has got over 250 million users on its 4G network as per the latest numbers announced by the telecom operator. This has mostly been achieved by breaking the backbone of the telecom industry, slashing the prices of 4G data, the cheapest you can find anywhere in the world.
And now that Jio has attained a significant market share (ranks third on the list) behind Vodafone Idea and Airtel, it’s time to shift focus to broadband internet.
The company has already rolled out Jio GigaFiber to offer fiber optics-based high-speed internet but compared to setting up mobile towers, Jio has found it hard to work on-ground with existing internet players having a bigger say in how things work.
So, what does Jio do? It goes ahead and takes controlling stakes in two such players; DEN Network and Hathway, with over 66 percent and 51 percent ownership respectively, giving them the ammunition to go full throng in this segment.
Direct to Home (DTH) providers like Airtel and Tata Sky have eaten into the business of local cable operators or LCOs via their internet enabled services. To stop this rut, Jio thinks that with over 27000 LCO’s operated via DEN and Hathway, now working under this partnership, it feels that local operators can finally compete with established DTH brands.
The DEN and Hathway ownership also accelerates the launch date of Jio GigaFiber but how do they utilise and upgrade the existing system to support Gigabit speed internet, that’s something we’d like to see.
That’s not all, the company has also said that over 24 million existing users with DEN and Hathway will also be migrated to Jio GigaFiber. No further details have been shared but we expect Jio to offer them access to its broadband service with a marginal discount. It remains to be seen how Jio plans on upgrading the laid out wires, which are unlikely to support Gigabit speeds.
Broadband is a different battleground compared to how Jio played its way through to the 4G mobile ecosystem. BSNL still (somehow) leads the segment, with Airtel ranking second but here again Jio could capitalise on lack of competition, pushing its high-end services which includes access to 4K content on television and other smart home features as well.
Jio had a smart plan to tackle the growth of mobile internet user base in the country and to an extent they have democratised internet like never before. Can it achieve similar results in the broadband ecosystem, if the pricing and service is right, then don’t bet against it working yet again.
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