Reliance Jio small-scale 4G launch likely by December end; pan-India launch may be in April-June 2016: BoFA-ML

Reliance Jio Infocomm's 4G services is likely to see a small scale launch in select areas by the end of December, especially in Mumbai, as per Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

However, it expects a pan-India commercial start could be delayed till April-June 2016.

"In a scenario Jio launches by December 28, we remain unsure 1) if it will be a commercial launch with the company disclosing price-points or 2) if it will be an extension of services which are currently being offered to employees to select user group/Jio partners (i.e. few months of free data with no price-points being shared)," Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoFA-ML) said in a note to clients dated December 15.

The house said it expects Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio to position itself as an "aspirational brand" offering premium services (high-speed) and is unlikely to target average revenue per users (ARPUs) below Rs 300. This compares with the Rs193 ARPU of market leader Bharti Airtel.

"As we do not expect the initial pricing from Jio to be aggressive, we expect a relief rally for Bharti/Idea after Jio commercially launches as the market is largely discounting higher competition from Jio," BoFA-ML said.

Notablt, shares of incumbent operators, No. 1 Bharti Airtel and No. 3 Idea Cellular have fallen close to 30 per cent over the past five months on concerns over launch of Reliance Jio's 4G operations.

(Image credit: BCCL)
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