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Why RJio’s 4G Launch For Employees Is A Step In The Right Direction
The delay in commercial launch of 4G services will provide much-needed time to the incumbents to expand. Bharti Airtel has already launched 4G services in nearly 300 towns. Earlier this month, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have also launched 4G services. Reliance Jio no longer has the first-mover advantage in a new technology
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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio on Sunday (27 December) launched 4G services for its nearly 120,000 group employees spread across the country.
“I want all of you to take five things back: digital life, connected intelligence, Jio life, Jio together and Jio celebration,” Ambani said during the launch of the services.
The roll out of the 4G service marks the return of Mukesh Ambani to the telecom industry after RIL’s telecom unit was gives to brother Anil Ambani as part of settlement of the family business. The return will also bring forth the return of intense rivalry between Mukesh Ambani and Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal.
Significantly enough Ambani didn’t mention anything about devices or even voice service to be offered to the employees and their families. While the incumbents would be using their 2G and 3G networks to offer voice through Circuit Switched Fall Back Technology, RJio is planning to offer voice through Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) technology.
Though Ambani didn’t disclose when the commercial operations will be launched, the indications are that they would be launched only by the third quarter of 2016 calendar year.
The launch is likely to intensify competition in the telecom sector and will also lead to the exit of smaller players who were not in a position to withstand heightened competition.
Ambani procured pan-India 2300Mhz spectrum through acquisition of HFCL’s Infotel way back in 2010. The last five years were spent in putting up a network across the country.
This delay in the commercial launch of the services will provide much-needed time to the incumbents to expand. India’s largest service provider, Bharti Airtel has already launched 4G services in nearly 300 towns. Earlier this month, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have also launched 4G services. Bharti has also announced Rs 60,000 crore worth `Project Leap’ to upgrade and modernize its network over a span of the next three years.
All this means that Reliance Jio no longer has the first-mover advantage in a new technology, which could have been its USP. The company is now trying to differentiate on the basis of Voice Over LTE (VoLTE), which is believed to offer superior quality of services, voice and speed to subscribers.
However, this launch will enable the company to iron out technical difficulties, which are bound to arise in a new network and a new technology.
“By throwing open the Jio services to all its business partners, and its vast number of employees and their families spread all across India, RIL will be making the optimal use of human resources to ensure that the last and the slightest wrinkle would be smoothed out to perfection before Jio launches its all-India commercial services,” said a company note issued on Sunday.
The period till the commercial launch will also be used to sort out interoperability issues between different technologies like 2G, 3G networks of other telcos and also between RJio and Reliance Communications network since the two brothers are close to sign spectrum sharing and trading agreement. Launch for the employees and their families will also give them a fair idea about customer’s expectations and thus prepare them for a commercial launch.
The launch at the company’s campus at Navi Mumbai was attended by 35,000 employees directly while over 80,000 employees attended the event through video conferencing from offices across the world. The service was flagged off by film actor Shah Rukh Khan, who is also the brand ambassador of Jio.
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