Today at the Reliance’s 42nd Annual General Meeting, Reliance announced the launch date for its optical fiber based fixed-line broadband service, JioFiber. The service is scheduled to be launched on September 5, at the rate of INR 700- 10K per month. On top of Jio Fiber, the company is planning to launch a host of services such as Jio Holoboard, mixed reality (VR+AR) applications, gaming set-up box and an OTT platform.
According to Mukesh Ambani’s daughter, Isha Ambani, mixed reality (AR+VR) experiences will be available on Jio GigaFiber and can be used for shopping, education and entertainment purposes. Jio Fiber will pit the company against Airtel’s V-Fiber home fixed-line broadband business as well as a slew of private players such as ACT Fibernet which have become established in some cities. It remains to be seen whether Jio can convince customers into taking up Jio Fiber for their homes, especially as many existing users use mobile internet for home use as well through hotspots. But to convince users, Jio has planned an array of services.
Reliance Forays Into OTT With Jio Fiber
In addition to mixed reality use-cases, premium users of the Jio Fiber will get access to a yet-to-be-launched OTT platform by Jio, called ‘Jio First Day First Show’. The platform will allow users to watch the movies on the same day it is released. The launch date for this platform is said to be in mid-2020. This will put Reliance Jio straight into competition against Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So far, Jio has enabled these services through its data-rich network, but now it would be competing against these very players and it could also have ramifications on the tie=ups that these platforms have with Jio’s telecom network currently.
Blockchain Applications Across India
Reliance also revealed plans to use blockchain with tens of thousands of nodes across a network designed for decentralised applications in India over the next year. “Using blockchain we can deliver unprecedented security, trust, automation and efficiency to almost any type of transaction.This is a vital capability for India especially for modernising our supply chains for agricultural produce and other goods which form the lifeblood of our economy,” Ambani added.
Ambani recognised the opportunity in blockchain to invent a brand-new model for data privacy where Indian data especially customer data is owned and controlled through technology by the Indian people and not by corporates, especially global corporations.
“Data is wealth and Indian wealth must remain in India,” said Ambani. Reliance Jio has been a supporter of the government’s draft localisation proposals, since day one, he added.
Recently, in its annual report said that Jio is a strong supporter of local storage of data, which is critical for national interest and security. It also added that Jio believes Indians are true owners of their data and ownership should not be transferred to any corporate entity.
Is Reliance Jio A Software Company?
“Jio is already a software company,” Mukesh Ambani added in his address. Jio is said to have over 6000 software engineers and claims to be continually attracting more technology talent from across India and the world.
The company has also announced to free cloud services for tech startups, in partnership with Microsoft. “This will take away the cost of cloud and connectivity infrastructures, which is the 80% cost of running a startup. The services will be free for budding startups. The startups will just have to register for their ‘custom design packages’ on Jio.com before Jan 1, 2020,” Ambani added.
In addition, Reliance will provide connectivity, productivity and automation tools at 1/10th the cost they are currently paying to small business.
Mukesh Ambani has also announced the launch date for its pan-India Narrowband Internet of Things (NBIoT) platform, which he claimed is an INR 20K Cr per year revenue opportunity for the company. Jio’s IoT platform will be commercially available starting January 1, 2020.