Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio speeds up its broadband plan ahead of 5G spectrum auction

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio speeds up its broadband plan ahead of 5G spectrum auction

  • Jio GigaFiber will lay fixed broadband lines in 1,600 cities and towns and will cover 75 million homes across India in a phased manner.
  • Reliance expanded its target which was to reach 50 million homes earlier
  • Airtel, Reliance Jio’s competitor, is also working on its own fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services, to cover 20 million homes.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has kickstarted its massive fixed broadband project across 1,600 cities and towns, expanding its high-speed Internet offerings, according to a Business Standard report.

This project known as Jio GigaFibre will provide Internet to homes in the old-fashioned way using cables. This business, the company expects, will add on to its already thriving wireless telecom services where it has disrupted the market with 4G data offerings.

It now has around 315 million customers and is the largest service provider with revenue market share of 39.8%.

As per the report, the company is ready to launch its fixed broadband services commercially in the next three months. They are also known to have already launched pilot versions in some areas.

This expansion is also coming an interesting time. The government is in the process of auctioning the prized 5G spectrum with a high base price of ₹ 4.92 billion. However, Jio’s fixed broadband will also provide high speeds, rivalling 5G which is the fastest Internet technology available. The speeds of 5G are known to be as high as 300 megabits per second!

Jio is betting heavily on fixed broadband. So much so, that it has expanded its earlier target of covering 1,100 cities and 60 million homes. Now, they want to reach 75 million homes in 1,600 cities,

One-time investment

Under the fibre-to-the-home technology, the last mile connectivity is wireless which provides cheaper and faster broadband services. This is helpful since telecom companies do not have to acquire permission for ‘right of way’ to lay the fibre. This not only reduces cost but is also eliminates the painful process of wire laying.

FTTH, unlike wireless business, is a future-proof business, and a one-time investment. It means that Jio will not have to keep leasing spectrum to sustain this business. Moreover, it can reach congested and remotely located areas easily.

The fixed broadband subscriber base currently uses copper connectivity for last mile connectivity and was at 18 million as on April 30, 2019. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) dominates the market with over 9.15 million subscribers.

Private players now want a piece of the pie. Airtel is also working on its own FTTH project, albeit at a lower scale, hoping to reach 20 million homes.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio may go public next year as debt for discounts starts to bite and 5G era beckons
Govt doesn’t want to delay tech progress; 5G spectrum auction soon