RJio gears up to bring digital life to India

Reliance Jio, India's newest telco, is planning to launch a slew of new products over the coming months. The company, which launched commercial services as recently as September, claims to have signed up around 16 million subscribers already. Many have obviously been drawn to the company's generous offers of free voice for life and free data services until the end of this year.

But Reliance Jio doesn't want to be known as just another telecom service provider. It regards itself as an enabler of what it calls "digital life." And the company is showcasing some of its forthcoming "digital life" products at its Jio Experience Center in Mumbai.

Light Reading was recently invited to visit this center and get a preview of what's in store. Highlights include:

  • Jio Car Connect: This is basically an on-board diagnostic (OBD) device, which can be plugged into a car's module to record and track vehicular data. The car owner will be able to keep track of the vehicle's vital stats with the help of this service. The testing for this is already complete and the service is ready for launch, although RJio would not divulge details of the launch date.

    Office Life
    RJio's headquarters are spread over a 550-acre corporate park in Mumbai.
    RJio's headquarters are spread over a 550-acre corporate park in Mumbai.

  • Jio Money: Jio hopes this mobile wallet will become a de facto solution for day-to-day needs of its subscribers. Nearly 100,000 online merchants are already part of the Jio Money ecosystem. Prominent mobile wallets already available in India include PayTM and PayU, and RJio will be aiming to lure customers from these services.

  • Gigabit Internet: One of RJio's most eagerly anticipated offerings is the company's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service, which will offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. RJio has already started pilots in some major cities, including Chennai, Delhi, Pune and Mumbai. The operator is also developing a number of home automation products for use with the broadband service, including smart locking and smart TV services, as well as its Jio Mediashare, Jio Cinema and Jio Games offerings. According to media reports, RJio plans to offer a free broadband service for the initial three months, as with other services. A router, costing between 4,000 Indian rupees ($58.5) and INR6,000 ($87.8) would be required for this service to work, although RJio seems likely to provide this at subsidized rates.

    Want to know more about 4G LTE? Check out our dedicated 4G LTE content channel here on Light Reading.

  • Voice over WiFi: This is a Skype-like service designed for smartphones. It has already been tested and RJio claims to be waiting for a go-ahead from the regulator. The offer will require an RJio SIM to work and is aimed largely at frequent international travelers trying to avoid cellular charges incurred abroad.

    Experience Center
    RJio is showcasing its forthcoming products using 23 display points inside the Jio Experience Center.
    RJio is showcasing its forthcoming products using 23 display points inside the Jio Experience Center.

    None of these services are currently available in the country and all could help RJio to attract more customers from rival networks. But the operator might need to focus on redesigning its network strategy first. Soaring subscriber growth appears to have put pressure on existing resources, with some customers experiencing very slow data connections. Indeed, according to recent data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) , RJio has one of the lowest 4G speeds in the country. And the pace of customer growth has slowed dramatically. The "digital life" offerings cannot come soon enough. (See RJio's 'Free' Strategy: Success or Failure?.)

    — Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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